July 22, 2010

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Ulster Republicans deny supporting Cuomo

KINGSTON – A group of local Republican Ulster County public officials denied saying they support Democrat Andrew Cuomo or his agenda.

Cuomo made a campaign stop in New Paltz Tuesday and afterwards, a campaign spokesman said they announced their support for Cuomo’s programs.

But, on Wednesday, Rochester Town Supervisor Carl Chipman, Saugerties Town Councilman James Bruno, Ulster Town Councilman Eric Kitchen and Ulster Town Clerk Jason Cozenza all said they do not support Cuomo or his agenda. The others could not be reached for comment.

Chipman was asked to come to the event, but he didn’t make it.

“I couldn’t meet him in New Paltz because I had an oncologist appointment and an association of supervisors meeting early in the morning,” he said. “If I would have, I just would have met the man.”

Kitchen said he does not support Cuomo.

“I was invited to go listen to him speak and that’s the only reason I was there.”

Kitchen said he is a proponent of home rule and is opposed to Cuomo’s proposal to consolidate local governments. “If everything was on the county level, you wouldn’t be able to talk to your local assessor,” he noted.

Marlborough Town Supervisor Chris Cerone, a Republican, who was at the rally, said he supports Cuomo’s plans to bail the state out of its financial problems and he would consider endorsing him.

Cuomo has the endorsement of the Independence Party and Len Bernardo, a member of the party from Ulster County apparently called each person and invited them to come to New Paltz to listen to Cuomo. Bernardo said he felt they were independent thinkers and could just hear what Cuomo had to say.

Fawn Tantillo, a former county legislator, earlier changed her party registration from Republican to Independence. She supports Cuomo’s agenda.

The Republicans were asked to pose for a picture with Cuomo, but Kitchen said that does not, by any means, translate to his support of the candidate’s agenda.

Ulster County GOP Chairman Mario Catalano Wednesday said it appears to have been a “colossal misunderstanding” between Cuomo’s campaign staff, Bernardo and the Republican officeholders who were invited to attend.


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