In race for sheriff, Democratic Party candidate has most experience

Posted 4 September 2015 at 12:00 am


With all the excitement about the Republican primary election (Sept. 10), one might get the impression that there are only two candidates for sheriff. The Republican primary will decide whether Randy Bower or Tom Drennan gets the Republican line on the ballot for Orleans County Sheriff. Thinking that the winner of the Sept. 10 primary will be the next sheriff is just one misconception.

It is the November general election, not the Sept. 10 Republican primary, that will actually determine who becomes Orleans County’s next sheriff. Randy Bower will be on the November ballot on the Conservative line regardless of how he fares in the Republican primary. Tom Drennan will be on the Independence and Reform lines whether he wins the Republican primary or not.

The candidate with the most law enforcement experience isn’t running in the Republican primary. The candidate with far more experience than either of the Republicans – and experience does matter – is Don Organisciak. Organisciak is the Democrat who – unlike Tom and Randy – is not connected to the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department. Don will be on the November ballot on Row A.

Don Organisciak retired as an investigator after 30 years with the Medina Police Department. His experience exceeds that of either of his rivals.

Is the fact that Don has no connection with the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department an advantage in this election? One of his rivals enjoys considerable support among the rank and file members of the Sheriff’s Department. The other has impressive endorsements and is the Orleans County Republican Party’s choice.

The support within the department dynamic is fascinating and reminds me of the widespread support our vice-principal in Kendall enjoyed among the high school faculty familiar with him. In this particular case, most of us wanted him to be principal for no other reason than we respected his fairness and ability. The Board of Education decided to bring in someone from “outside.” Unlike the manner in which principals are chosen, in theory, sheriffs are elected, not appointed. The choice is yours.

Most primary elections in Orleans County are won by the endorsed Republican. The endorsed Republican ordinarily wins the November general election. Elections in Orleans County are too often a formality. Elections here usually rubber stamp the choice of Republican power brokers.

It amazes me how many times I have been asked about the sheriff’s race. My view is that we have a real choice this year. The choice, to me, is from among three qualified, decent, experienced candidates.

Tom was a student of mine. Randy is married to a student of mine. Don is a Democrat whom I just met this year. I think the facts that Don Organisciak has the most law enforcement experience and is not in the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department make him an excellent choice for Orleans County Sheriff.

Sincerely yours,

Gary F. Kent

Editor’s note: Kent is a retired social studies teacher at Kendall.