Insist On A Debate for Family Court Judge Candidates

Letter to the Editor,

Family Court Judge for Oswego County will be filling an open position soon. There is a primary Sept. 9. Five lawyers who are vying to be the Republican candidate: Thom Benedetto, Salvatore Lanza, Jim Eby, Ed Izyk and Eben Norfleet. The Democratic Committee has endorsed Oswego lawyer Lou Anne Rucynski Coleman as its candidate.

The position of Family Court Judge is one of the most important positions in Oswego County, as the judge can set the future of a young person. A Family Court Judge must show compassion and common sense besides knowing the law.

Years ago, my father and mother took in a grandson when he was only two weeks old. He stayed with our family until his mother took him away at six years old.

My parents were devastated because they were denied visitation, and think of how the 6 year old must have felt! He was allowed back a few years later to see my dying father in his last minutes of life.

We feel the young grandson was harmed and became “special needs” because of the “unjust and mean decisions” of Oswego County Family Court Judge Comstock in the mid 1980s.

A few years later my then 11 year old nephew came back and lived with my mother until she was 82 when she died, and he was 32. He became homeless for a year until we could finally get help for him from Oswego County.

My wife and I now have a 6 year old son and can see how Judge Comstock’s decisions years ago harmed the grandson and hurt my father and mother.

The citizens of Oswego County must be informed and understand the feelings of any candidate for this most important position. The person who is elected must have extreme compassion, common sense, and good judgement when it comes to innocent children and broken, dysfunctional families.

Above all else; money, location, adult vindictiveness – must come the happiness and well-being of the child.

A debate and/or public forum with the candidates before the primary should be required!

Let the public, mothers and fathers, grandparents, uncles and aunts, guardians, teachers and other concerned adults ask questions of these people who will have so much control over our children’s future. There must be a debate before the September 9 primary with the 5 Republican candidates, and another before the election with the Democrat and Republican candidates.

The only way to have an idea of the heart, compassion, and experience with children by these Family Court Judge hopefuls is to speak with them and have them answer some hard questions!

The tough job of Oswego County Family Court Judge cannot be about the money or the power that the position holds; the job is to make sure the children of our area have a chance to grow up to be proud, productive, family advocates themselves!

We, the citizens of Oswego County must demand a chance to meet the candidates in person before we vote!

Thank you,
Steven D. Burdick
Fulton, NY


  1. Debates between NYS judicial candidates are specifically prohibited by the rules under judicial ethics provisions. You can Google the rules. They are online.

  2. I just googled the site again to make sure. Debates are usually not conducted because the ethical rules are so strict and constricting that the candidates are not allowed to make accusations against the other nor are they allowed to make promises as to how they will rule on a variety of issues. The judiciary must always appear that they will be fair and impartial. Thus debates are not custom in judicial races.

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