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Final presidential debate: The historical significance in choosing Hempstead, NY

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Tonight’s final presidential debate is taking place in the village I grew up in which is Hempstead, NY.  You may not know this, but Hempstead, NY, but it elected its first African-American mayor on Long Island and I am proud of that fact.  His name is James Garner and while a Republican, he lived and breathed the village of Hempstead.  As mayor, Garner did not care who you were, his only quest was to lead his constituents in my home village.

His race did not even enter people’s minds as he governed.  What they cared about were if their needs were being met and I can attest to the fact that they were.  He transformed a village that was suffering into one that thrived.  Sound familiar as our country has suffered. The only thing we as citizens cared about is whether our garbage was picked up, the roads maintained and if we were safe to walk the streets of our village.  He delivered all of that and so much more with his larger than life persona.


Garner always had a open-door policy so that the citizens of my home village could reach-out to him and discuss their concerns.  Since I do know him personally, there were many times I interacted with him and he even lived around the corner from me. While I moved away from the Village of Hempstead, it was Mayor Garner who stated to me at my uncle’s wake, I would always be a Hempstead girl.

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So as Adam Nagourney tries through his column in today’s NY Times tries to scare the electorate by stating that race may be a factor in this presidential race, my message to Nagourney is “Enough is enough!” Note to Nagourney, you may wish to speak with me as to how race should not even enter this debate.  To those of you who would use race as a deciding factor, let me remind you that millions of Americans are in need of your help.  These are the millions who have been left behind by the Bush administration and a candidate who supported him right from the start and his name is John McCain.


We have a financial crisis that began with McCain’s deregulation policies as well as his support of the War in Iraq.  McCain’s health-care plan according to Nobel Prize columnist, Paul Krugman would add 20 million more to those who will not have health insurance.  What more do you need as a deciding factor to send him back to the senate?

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While not elected, we in New York State have for the first time our first African-America governor whose name is David A. Paterson and for those of you who do not know this; he grew up in the Village of Hempstead.  Could the selection where the final debate be a message to all Americans?  Oh you betcha!


David A. Paterson took over the office when Eliot Spitzer was forced to resign and right from the start, he led this state as it tried to heal.  Again, does that sound familiar?  While I have never met Governor Paterson, I feel a bond with him and call him ‘The Guv’.


Right from the start, Governor Paterson has been a consensus builder reaching out to Republicans in order to effectively govern my home state.  I do opine that is precisely the way that a President Obama will govern.  He did so as a state senator in Illinois.


For many years the proposed Broadwater Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) had been a bone of contention by many living in my state especially those like me who live near the Long Island Sound.  We felt as if no one was listening to our plight.


Enter in Governor Paterson who effectively shut Broadwater down as one will read, “One of my goals as Governor is to protect Long Island Sound, by preserving it as a valuable estuary, an economic engine for the region, and a key component to making Long Island’s quality of life one of the best in the country,” said Governor Paterson. “Broadwater does not pass that test.  Shame on us if we can’t develop a responsible energy policy without sacrificing one of our greatest natural and economic resources.”


Now I call that leadership when he decisively made that decision to benefit those of us who live near the Long Island Sound and those whose very jobs depended upon this body of water being protected.

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In fighting for the citizens of New York, Governor Paterson suggested that the federal government send back NY tax money.  In a fighting spirit, this is what Governor Paterson stated, "New Yorkers bailed out the federal government many, many times. ... If they pay back 10 percent of the average we pay the federal government that would be $8 billion. They pay back 5 percent, that would be $4 billion."


For years a Republican governor, George E. Pataki was consistently late with the state budget to the angst of lawmakers, Newsday reported of our current budget “Paterson said that one of the reasons he is bringing the legislature back after Election Day and introducing the executive budget six weeks earlier than usual is to show credit companies that the state is taking its spending problem seriously.” So, do not tell me that Democrats are not fiscally irresponsible.


As I sit here and type this column, does it enter my mind that my governor ‘The Guv’ is African-American?  No it does not.  All I care about is that he is governing a state that I love.  If I could grab the attention of the media specifically Nagourney, I would use as these two men as prime examples how government should work.  Never once did their race enter into my mind.

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I am a writer who currently writes pieces for my own blog http://www.mary-macelveen.blogspot.com I have been published by Buzzflash.com, TheLiberalPatriot.org and MikeHersh.com. I was a guest on the Jay Diamond Radio Show on WRKO in Boston and have (more...)

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