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Hilltown Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, August 19, 2010

Challenging McEneny: Busch files for a Tax Payer Party line

By Zach Simeone

HILLTOWNS — Hilltowner Deborah Busch wants to oust New York State Assemblyman John “Jack” McEneny in the fall election, and has successfully petitioned for the Tax Payer Party line.

She also has the Republican and Conservative lines, while McEneny has both the Democratic and Independence lines.

“The Tax Payer line is a line for the working people who want to produce, and have a productive society,” Busch told The Enterprise this week. “Government is not the answer for everything right now. As a community, we need to keep our businesses alive, and we need to keep our agriculture alive.”

While McEneny holds a seat in a primarily Democratic district, he also secured a second line for the November election.

Paul Caputo, the county’s Independence chairman, said that, at the end of a lengthy interview process, his party decided to endorse McEneny, as it has in the past.

“Both Mr. McEneny and Ms. Busch came before us,” Caputo said. “We had a long discussion, but, in the end, the committee decided to go with Assemblyman McEneny for a number of reasons…He’s been serving a very long time, and he certainly was on the forefront of opening Thacher Park again, which is very important to a number of people on our executive committee. So, I think that helped a lot of people make their decision.”

McEneny was out of town this week and could not be reached for comment.

This is Busch’s second run for political office, her first since joining up with the growing local Tea Party movement, the Hilltown Homefront Patriots. The group’s goals include lowering taxes, reducing the size of government, upholding Second Amendment rights, questioning global warming, and reforming health care.

Tom Cavanaugh, who has been at the forefront of the Homefront movement since its local inception in February, spent many days, he said, going door-to-door in support of Busch’s campaign.

“An amazing amount of Democrats signed,” Cavanaugh said this week; he estimated close to half. “They all like Jack, but he’s been hurting their bank account and their livelihood. He’s been in there too long,” said Cavanaugh. McEneny was first elected in 1992.

Cavanaugh said that the number of signatures on Busch’s petition totaled more than 2,000. According to the Albany County Board of Elections, her petition contained 278 pages of signatures, though the total number of signatures had not yet been counted as of Tuesday, the final filing date.

Last year, Busch ran for Albany County coroner on the GOP line, losing to long-time Democratic incumbent Paul Marra, though she got 44 percent of the vote, which gives her confidence in the upcoming election.

“I hit 5,000 doors, going door-to-door with a grassroots campaign all by myself,” she said of last year. “What I found was, people were in serious trouble, and they didn’t want to talk about the coroner’s issues. They wanted to talk about health care; they were facing escalating taxes; school taxes were going through the roof. And they’re wondering, ‘Where’s our security?’”

She realized she could do more as a member of the assembly, she said. Now, she aims to re-shape the 104th District of Albany County, which includes Guilderland, New Scotland, the Hilltowns, and most of the city of Albany.

“We are hemorrhaging jobs out of the 104th District,” Busch said. “Just look around and see how many businesses are closing. And it’s not going to get better, especially when you have an assembly that will not cap taxes. Taxes should be capped at the rate of inflation.”

In addition to the Tax Payer line, Busch has also secured the Republican and Conservative lines for the fall election.

“She was such a viable candidate last year; she works hard, and has Republican principles,” said John Graziano, who chairs the county’s Republican Party, and is also the Republican commissioner for the Albany County Board of Elections. “She’s a hard worker, and a passionate person who wants to do the right thing for the county and state,” Graziano said.

Busch got the Conservative line because of “her view of state government being too big, cutting back programs, and reducing the budget because of the deficit,” according to Richard Stack, who chairs the county’s Conservative Party.

“We backed her in the coroner’s race because she was striving for fiscal responsibility in the coroner’s office, trying new techniques, and questioning their medical backgrounds,” Stack said this week. “So, when she came in to run for assembly, we wanted to endorse her.”

Come November, the Tax Payer Party will have its first opportunity to win a seat in the state assembly.

“We need someone who’s going to have enough courage to say, ‘No,’” Busch concluded. “I don’t believe in party lines. I think we need to represent our constituents, and that’s what the Tax Payer Party is all about.”

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