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Sun., Oct. 4
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Labor council endorses Aaron Woolf, among others


GOUVERNEUR — The Central Trades & Labor Council endorsed Democrat Aaron G. Woolf for Congress, along with a number of candidates running for state offices and positions in St. Lawrence and Jefferson counties, at a meeting Wednesday at Mullins Restaurant.

Other endorsements in contested races included Democrat Colleen M. O’Neill for Jefferson County sheriff, Democrat Susan A. Sovie for Jefferson County Family Court judge, Addie J. Russell, D-Theresa, for the 116th Assembly seat, Janet L. Duprey, R-Peru, for the 115th Assembly seat, and St. Lawrence County incumbent coroners James M. “Jamie” Sienkiewycz, a Democrat from Massena, and Joseph E. White, a Republican from Russell, for two coroner positions.

Mr. Woolf said he looks forward to working with labor if elected in the 21st Congressional District. Republican opponent Elise M. Stefanik, Willsboro, and Green Party candidate Matthew J. Funiciello, Glens Falls, did not appear before the labor delegates.

“I’m just incredibly proud as somebody who has great faith in the future of labor,” Mr. Woolf said after his endorsement was announced.

Mr. Woolf talked about the importance of a recent campaign contribution from a labor union.

“Behind that money was so many souls,” he said.

Mr. Woolf said he has been a member of three separate unions and guilds and knows the power of organization.

“We need so badly to come together,” he said. “Labor always thinks about the long term. You are the people bucking the trend of this short-term, quick-fix philosophy that is torturing our country.”

Ms. O’Neill, who was chosen over fellow Democratic candidate Paul W. Trudeau — who will face off with her in a primary — and Republican candidate John Bocciolatt, said she was humbled and honored by the endorsement.

“I hope it’s because of my reputation and my qualifications and the way I carry myself,” she said. “All endorsements are helpful and meaningful.”

Ms. O’Neill made a correlation between unions and police work.

“The sheriff’s office wants better things for families and unions want better things for families,” she said.

Before labor leader Ernest J. LaBaff could ask his perennial question of candidates about their support for raising the minimum wage, Ms. O’Neill said she favors an increase.

“If it keeps people out of jail, yes,” she said. “If enough people turn to crime, it overloads the system. Minimum wage is one way to fight crime.”

Mr. Trudeau, Jefferson County undersheriff, stressed the importance of knowing about the department’s divisions of corrections, criminal and civil. Mr. Bocciolatt focused on ways to fight the community’s drug problems using his experience as a police officer in Portland, Ore.

Mrs. Russell, who is running for her fourth term in the Assembly, talked about the importance of education reform and of keeping Massena Memorial Hospital open, especially because of how companies there might react if medical care declined. She blamed the hospital’s precarious fiscal situation more on mismanagement than on the state pension system.

“I think it’s more an administrative issue than a systemic issue,” she said. “I think Massena’s unique economy requires a hospital there.”

Mrs. Russell is opposed by Republican John L. Byrne III, Cape Vincent, and Russell J. Finley, Lisbon, who is running as a Conservative and who has filed an opportunity to ballot petition to allow voters to write in his name on the Republican line. Neither made an appearance.

She also faces opposition from Republican John S. Humphrey, Brownville, who suggested fracking as a way to improve the economy. Rather than raise the minimum wage as suggested by Mr. LaBaff as a way for taxpayers to stop subsidizing business and give people more money to spend, Mr. Humphrey recommended eliminating illegal aliens.

Mrs. Duprey, who is opposed by fellow Republican Karen M. Bisso, Plattsburgh, said her main reason for running again for her Assembly seat was to reform Common Core.

“The concept was good but the implementation was bad,” she said. “We have more to do.”

Both Mr. Sienkiewycz and Mr. White addressed the delegates on the coroner’s race in St. Lawrence County. The third candidate, Republican W. Joseph Lacks, Gouverneur, did not appear.

Other candidates endorsed were state Sens. Patricia A. Ritchie, R-Heuvelton, Joseph A. Griffo, R-Rome, and Elizabeth O’C. “Betty” Little, R-Queensbury; St. Lawrence County Court Judge Jerome J. Richards, a Democrat, and John F. Richey, Democratic candidate from Canton, for St. Lawrence County Surrogate Court judge.

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