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‘We are Fighting to Save our State’: Lee Zeldin and Other GOP Candidates Gather in Monroe, New York

Published: September 22, 2022
Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin speaks during his "Save New York" rally in Brighton Beach on Aug. 03, 2022 in the Brooklyn Borough of New York City. Zeldin gathered with other GOP candidates in the idyllic town of Monroe, New York on Sept. 10, 2022 ahead of the midterm elections scheduled for Nov. 8. (Image: John Lamparski/Getty Images)

On Sept. 10, Republican candidates, for a variety of roles up for grabs in this fall’s midterm elections, gathered in the idyllic village of Monroe, New York to celebrate at the community’s annual Cheese Festival.

The village of Monroe, with a population of just over 8,500, is the birthplace of Liederkranz and Velveeta Cheese and boasts 130 acres of lush public parklands. 

In conversation with Vision Times, Town Councilman, Sal Scancarello said this year’s festival featured 80 vendors and attracted some 5,000 participants. 

Among the Republican candidates in attendance was Lee Zeldin who is seeking to unseat Gov. Kathy Hochul in this November’s midterm elections scheduled for Nov. 8. 

At the event Zeldin told Vision Times, “We are fighting to save our state and we need everyone to get out and vote on Nov. 8. I’m running for Governor because I want to do my part to save the state, but I can’t do it alone. So tell all of your readers, they have an important role to play, register to vote and show up on Nov. 8.”

Zeldin is an attorney, politician and officer in the United States Army Reserve. Currently he represents New York’s 1st congressional district in the United States House of Representatives, a position he has held since 2015.

He won his chance to unseat Hochul after defeating three challengers in the Republican gubernatorial primary this past June. 

Born and raised on Long Island, Zeldin earned his bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Albany and then earned a law degree from Albany Law School at the age of 23 making him New York’s youngest attorney at the time.

Zeldin is running on a platform that promises to tackle a variety of issues impacting the state including securing New York streets by repealing bail reform laws that went into effect in January 2020 that many point to as the primary reason why crime is surging in New York State. 

On the economy, Zeldin, if elected, wants to cut taxes, address energy costs, eliminate burdensome regulations, and invest in extracting natural resources to create new revenue to invest in and revitalize New York State communities. 

Lee Zeldin, candidate for New York State Governor (front), Monroe Town Councilman, Sal Scancarello (third from the right) and Dorey Houle (far left) speaks with Vision Times staff at the annual Cheese Festival held in Monroe, New York on Sept. 10, 2022. (Image: Vision Times/Vision Times Staff)

Also in attendance was Dorey Houle who is running for election to the New York State Senate to represent District 42. Houle is squaring off against incumbent James Skoufis, a member of the Working Families Party who assumed office on Jan. 1, 2019. 

Houle has held a variety of positions over the years, most recently serving as a Councilwoman for the town of Monroe.   

In an emailed statement to Vision Times Houle said that she knew she wanted to run for NYS Senate since she was 19 when she was working towards a degree in education.

“When I was 19 years and in college working toward a degree in education, I knew that I wanted to run for NYS Senate. Hearing my professors talk about what the state requires teachers to do versus what teachers would want to do in a perfect environment led me to know that the real impact I wanted to make was at the state level,” Houle told Vision Times. 

A dedicated mother of five, Houl said she is most passionate about the well-being and safety of children.

“Making sure that children have everything they need to be successful is a priority for me. This includes education and academic resources but it also includes safe living environments and proper nutrition. New York has incredible opportunities to invest in the future of our children and help them to become successful adults who will want to contribute back to society,” Houle said. 

People mill about at the annual Cheese Festival held in Monroe, New York on Sept. 10, 2022. Town Councilman, Sal Scancarello, said this year’s festival featured 80 vendors and attracted some 5,000 participants. (Image: Vision Times/Vision Times Staff)

Houle comes from a family of dedicated public servants. Her father was a NYC Fire Chief, her husband was once an NYPD officer and her eldest son currently serves in the U.S. Armed Forces overseas.

If elected, Houle says her first priority will be to address public safety, alongside “other like-minded elected officials,” like Lee Zeldin and promised to repeal bail reform, discovery laws, and HALT (The Humane Alternatives to Long-Term Solitary Confinement Act). 

Houle argues that her opponents refuse “to admit that the NY State Legislature got it wrong when they passed Bail Reform and Discovery Laws and when they attempted to dial it back with ineffective amendments.”

“I have principles and I stand by them,” she said, adding that, “As elected officials, we answer to the public.” She challenged her opponent, the chairman of the Committee on Investigations and Government Operations, saying that her opponent has failed in his responsibility to investigate fraud and corruption. 

“He has refused to investigate sexual harassment charges, nursing home deaths, and corrupt pay-to-play schemes involving taxpayer money,” she told Vision Times.

She wants to restore second amendment rights in New York State by “eliminating poorly thought-out gun control policies,” and would also restore funding to mental health services so that lawmakers can “address the cause of violence and provide meaningful services and programs by collaborating with social workers and mental health providers.”

Ultimately, she wants to prioritize mental health, education, and infrastructure while eliminating wasteful spending. 

She has received an endorsement by Mike Martucci, a Senator for the 42nd NYS Senate District who says that Houle has “earned the support of the Republican and Conservative parties and will be a reliable voice for all Orange County residents and Albany.”

Martucci believes Houle will “work hard to protect taxpayers, reduce violent crime, preserve open space, and stop government overreach” in New Yorker’s lives and businesses. 

Karl Brabenec, current Assemblyman for New York’s District 98, who is running for reelection this November, was also in attendance.

He told Vision Times, “It’s very, very critical that we elect our Republican team this year to make a real change in New York State,” adding that “Taxes are too high, regulations are too high, there’s more and more government intrusion into people’s lives, we need to stop that. This is the team to stop that.”

Karl Brabenec (center) Assemblyman for New York’s District 98, poses for a photo with Dorey Houle (right), the Republican candidate running for election to the NYS Senate to represent District 42 and Kathryn Luciani (left) who is running for election to the NYS Assembly to represent District 99 at the annual Cheese Festival in the Town of Monroe, New York on Sept. 10, 2022. (Image: Vision Times/Vision Times Staff)

Brabenec will be squaring off against Democrat Bruce Levine this November.

Among numerous issues including tax reform, ethics reform, protecting the environment and investing in infrastructure, Brabenec brings focus to the ongoing opioid epidemic that has been gripping the nation and impacting his community.

He has solid plan to address the crisis that includes treatment for people struggling with opioid addiction, ensuring recovery centers have adequate resources, enforcing the law and holding dealers to account and educating the community, beginning at a young age, so that children learn about the dangers of heroin and opioids to prevent them from falling victim to addiction.

This election cycle, Brabenec says that the Republican team is “energized” and that they are looking forward to a “big, big win.” 

He told Vision Times, “We look at other countries that follow a communism approach or even a socialist approach, there are people who want to bring this here, not only to New York State but to our entire country and destroy the American way of life. We cannot have that happen.”