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Letters to the Editor
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Del Vecchio likely clear frontrunner in District 18
(Opinion piece submitted by Laura Thompson)

At least six Republican candidates have thrown in their hats to run against incumbent Sean Patrick Maloney in New York's 18th congressional district. Their ranks include Sakima Brown (Poughkeepsie), Dan Castricone (Tuxedo), Kenneth Del Vecchio (Warwick), John Lange (Bedford Hills), Phil Oliva (Somers), and Frank Spampinato (Newburgh). The 18th District, which covers all of both Orange and Putnam counties, also has a sizable portion of Dutchess County in it, as well as a small swath of Westchester County. It is one of the most coveted congressional districts in the country, as it is a rare contested district; translated in English, it is one of the few districts where either a Democrat or Republican can win. 

Sakima Brown has a West Point degree and is a Board of Education member in her home city. She has a pleasant personality and presents well. She lost a 2014 election for state assembly in District 104.

Dan Castricone is the municipal chair of Tuxedo, a former Orange County legislator and he has a law degree; he owns an insurance company. A perpetual candidate, he lost a 2014 Republican Primary to Karl Brabenec in the 98th State Assembly District (and then went on to lose the general election), and lost an election for a NY Supreme Court judge position in 2013; he only served one term in the Orange County Legislature. He held the support of the United Monroe line in his assembly campaign.

Frank Spampinato has the same carpetbagger quandary as Maloney, as he just moved to Newburgh from Virginia upon making his campaign announcement. The man, a lawyer, has some fine credentials as a former CIA employee and deputy position in the DOE during the Bush administration; these, of course, could also be viewed as detractions, in a 2016 election where establishment relationships have largely been repudiated. Phil Oliva (a consultant for Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino) and John Lange (a former congressional aide) round out the field.

The one great standout in the group is Kenneth Del Vecchio, often described as modern-day Renaissance Man. His career successes are so diverse and impressive that they overshadow his opponents (even if you combined all the others together as one candidate). 

Del Vecchio is a critically acclaimed filmmaker, who has written, directed and produced about 30 movies that star several Academy Award and Emmy winners and nominees. His movies are everywhere - on cable TV, Netflix, DVD, On Demand and in the theaters. The distributors of his movies are some of the largest, such as NBCUniversal, Anchor Bay, and Millennium Entertainment. He also has acted in a few dozen films. Del Vecchio is also a best-selling author, but not just for one type of book. He wrote a novel, Pride & Loyalty, at only 24 years old (and while in law school), which became a best-seller; over 50,000 copies were sold upon its initial release. He's gone on to publish a few additional novels, with his most recent work, The Great Heist, hitting the shelves in 2012. But he's had even more success with a series of criminal codebooks published by giants Prentice Hall and ALM. These 1000+ page legal tomes include the New York Code of Criminal Justice, New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice, and a national criminal codebook - which are some of the nation's best-selling legal books. Del Vecchio is the founder and chairman of one of the world's largest film festivals, Hoboken International Film Festival. If that's not enough, he's a former judge from New Jersey, as well as a former prosecutor. And he's an attorney who has tried over 400 cases; right out of law school, he was noted as being one of the youngest attorneys in state history to try and win a felony jury trial. Del Vecchio has taught a few thousand police officers and attorneys criminal law at private seminars and for law enforcement departments such as the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. And he has been a regular legal analyst on Fox News Channel and other networks.

Del Vecchio's website touts that he has "been credited with infusing millions of dollars yearly into the Hudson Valley economy, and creating hundreds of jobs." This is accurate. Through his Hoboken International Film Festival, which he brought to Middletown's Paramount Theater in 2013, he has generated excitement never seen before in Orange County. It's not uncommon to hear local business owners say that they made more money during the one week of the film festival than they did in the prior several months. Each year, Del Vecchio draws in about 15,000 people to Orange County to attend his film festival and see the numerous movie stars at the Paramount and walking the streets, as well as the dozens of filmmakers who have flown in from all across the world to have their movies screened at the prestigious event. Hoboken Film Festival was tagged by FOX as being "one of the 10 biggest film festivals in the world", a description that several other media outlets have concurred with. 

Price For Freedom, Rock Story, Bleeding Hearts, Scavenger Killers, Hospital Arrest, Renaissance Man, American Brawler, and Joker's Wild are all movies produced by Del Vecchio, all or in part in the Hudson Valley in just the last three years. He begins the production of yet another film in Orange County, Blue Lives Matter, on March 20 - and he is shooting a re-shoot day for his anti-abortion movie 12 Angry Men and Women in Middletown in late February. That's 10 movies - from just one filmmaker - brought into this not-so-usual moviemaking area. The results for the local community are obviously astounding. 

Some of the actors who Del Vecchio has convinced to come into District 18 for his movie productions and film festival are: Eric Roberts (Academy Award nominee; The PoPe of Greenwich Village); Paul Sorvino (Goodfellas; Nixon); Burt Young (Academy Award nominee; Rocky); Robert Loggia (Academy Award nominee; Scarface); Amy Smart (Crank; Road Trip); Taryn Manning ("Orange is the New Black"; Hustle & Flow); Jane Seymour (Golden Globe Winner; "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman"); Joe Pantoliano (Emmy winner; The Matrix); Jonathan Silverman (Weekend at Bernie's; "The Single Guy"); Joyce DeWitt ("Three's Company"); Martin Kove (The Karate Kid; Rambo); Mike Starr (Dumb & Dumber; The Black Dhalia); Zach McGowan ("Black Sails"; "Shameless"); Dominique Swain (Face/Off; Lolita); Jimmie Walker ("Good Times"); Justin Deas (6-time Emmy winner); Todd Bridges ("Different Strokes"); Robert David Hall ("CSI"); Gilbert Gottfried (Problem Child; Aladdin); Michael Winslow (Police Academy); Michael Pare (Eddie and the Cruisers; Streets of Fire), Sally Kirkland (Academy Award nominee; JFK); Jason London (Dazed and Confused; Jason and the Argonauts), and many more. 

But Del Vecchio's massive contributions to the local economy don't stop here. He also has instituted a rebirth of success to Middletown's Paramount Theater, making it the true economic anchor that the city had so long desired. Before Del Vecchio came in as the Paramount's chairman in 2013, the theater hadn't shown movies on a daily basis in almost 20 years, nor had it hosted major live comedy and music acts. Del Vecchio changed that in literally weeks upon his arrival. He immediately instituted daily movie showings, specifically the biggest movies in the market, such as all those nominated for Academy Awards each year.

All this Hollywood fanfare, but Kenneth Del Vecchio is an extremely outspoken conservative Republican. He calls himself a fiscally conservative, pro-second Amendment, pro-life, small government, freedom-seeking, terrorist-destroying, anti-illegal immigration, job-creating, economy-boosting capitalist.

This is probably what attracts voters to him the most. He's not afraid to go against Hollywood, his main industry - and he has accomplished this with incredible success. Liberal companies like NBCUniversal have distributed movies of his, such as the very pro-life The Life Zone. His film O.B.A.M. Nude, a very controversial satire about U.S. President Barack Obama, was released by Screen Media Films. Del Vecchio's blatant disregard for the politically correct shines in this 2016 anti-establishment year, so much so that within two hours of him announcing his congressional candidacy, the Donald Trump campaign contacted him and asked him to join their team. Del Vecchio is now running with Trump and is the Trump presidential campaign's District 18 coordinator. It is interesting that Del Vecchio was the first congressional candidate in the country to endorse Donald Trump and Trump's hit show "The Apprentice" is distributed by none other than NBCUniversal (the same distributor of multiple Del Vecchio movies). 

Del Vecchio's unusually charismatic flair and very candid straight talk can quickly be seen in a 20-minute announcement video that is on display on the home page of his campaign website: www.KenDelVecchioForCongress.com. Del Vecchio says that there's never been anything like it before in the history of politics, and that's likely a spot-on proclamation.

Del Vecchio asserts that he has resources that none of the other GOP candidates have in this campaign. If anything that's an understatement. He likely has more resources at his disposal than all of his opponents put together. He may be the frontrunner, with no one even close, in this very busy Republican field. But is it enough to beat Clinton's man Sean Patrick Maloney? Maybe, because Del Vecchio is Trump's man - Trump's protege Renaissance Man. 

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