Miller says big spending on local political campaigns may deter some candidates from running
I am one of two candidates for Murray Town Supervisor. The people of Murray have been very patient this election year. Not only have they had to endure a Primary for the Republican and Independence ballot lines, they have had to wait for absentee ballots to determine the outcome of not only that race, but now the General Election for Supervisor. For their patience, I thank them. While my opponent’s lead is large, I still hold out hope.
Regardless the outcome, I remain hopeful for Murray as well. In other venues of social media, we have been portrayed as a town divided. I instead look and see a town engaged. A town that values its civic responsibility, becomes involved, and participates in this most sacred of our guaranteed freedoms.
Most disturbing to me is that we have reached, apparently, a new plateau in political campaigns. Are the days gone when a small town candidate could spend a reasonable amount on their campaign, to present themselves and their credentials to the electorate and put their name out there? Call me old-fashioned, but I fear a future where this is not enough anymore.
When someone would hire a campaign consultant, put up what amounts to billboards, and spend inordinate amounts on mailings, flyers, postcards, and targeted social media, I get the feeling we are not in Murray anymore. I think this large expenditure unreasonably raises the cost of entry for any political office to a point beyond that of the average citizen. It has already happened to varying degrees at the state and federal level.
In a statewide or federal campaign, I understand that there are lobbyists and special interests that are willing to spend huge sums of money to finance campaigns in hopes of favorable treatment. I can only guess at the motivations involved in such a small town race. Have we degenerated into the type of campaign where people will spend many times the annual salary of the job, for the apparent purpose of what benefit it may afford them either now or in the future? I certainly hope not, or the age of the citizen public official is truly ended.
I congratulate the opposed candidates who campaigned with me. Mike Mele and Paul Hendel ran the type of race we are used to in a small town, word of mouth, with minimal expense for mailers, door hangers, and advertisements. Our type of campaign, with some homemade signs and the frugality typically associated with a race of this nature is in stark contrast to that of my opponent.
There has been much talk in this forum of having Murray maintain its character and individuality. That is one reason why those of us who live here have chosen to stay, and more still are discovering our little corner of upstate New York.
Will we allow “big-town” politics ruin our small-town personality? I hope not. Can we put an end to big time political spending that further alienates those who might aspire to public service? I hope so. The greater the selection of candidates in our elections, the higher the likelihood we can determine the best person for the job. Big spending on local campaigns would serve to prevent quality people from getting involved in the process. If that should happen, we will all be losers.
Regardless of the outcome of this election, the citizens have made their choice. Should I win, I can guarantee I will work hard for all the citizens of Murray, my opponent included. I have every confidence that he will do the same. Thank you for your support.
Robert G. Miller
Candidate for Town of Murray Supervisor