Letter to the Editor of the Spotlight News
In response to: “Joyce asking for ‘reinforcements,” Letter to The Spotlight, May 29, 2019
On Machines, Mavericks and Reformers
“We wear the clumsy attacks of the waning old guard of machine politicians and their lackeys as badges of honor…” -Andrew Joyce
Andrew Joyce, Chairman of the Albany County Legislature, published a letter in May 29th The Spotlight.
His message is clear. Mr. Joyce wants Bethlehem Democratic primary voters to support his candidates for the county legislature. Those candidates, once elected, will then support him and his policy priorities.
In his assertion of unspecified “attacks” undertaken by an unspecified “old guard of machine politicians and their lackeys,” Mr. Joyce wants voters to believe he is a maverick of sorts. That’s interesting, because Mr. Joyce, has the dubious distinction of being the first Albany County Legislature Chairman in history to assign committee leadership positions to members of the Republican Party; that of course includes the tenure of his father, Harold Joyce, who held the same position. If that’s being a maverick, most Albany County Democrats – I think – would prefer less maverickness in their Chairman. Further, Mr. Joyce is precisely the wrong individual to be raising the flag regarding political machines. He now represents the machine, and one of the candidates he is endorsing – Jeff Kuhn – played machine politics to the hilt while Chairman of the Bethlehem Democratic Committee (BDC). Though professing to be champion of transparency and anti-machine, Kuhn was quite the opposite.
In his endorsement of Mr. Kuhn, Mr. Joyce neglected to mention that Kuhn had been the Chairman of the BDC for six years before stepping down towards the end of 2018. It was Kuhn who engineered the 2017 electoral train wreck that unfolded when Brent Meredith withdrew his candidacy for Superintendent of Highways. Kuhn, without consulting the committee at-large, created a second candidate vacancy. What followed included improperly completed election documents, a court battle, and Bethlehem Democrats losing two town-wide seats. It was a debacle.
Mr. Kuhn wants voters to believe that he will be a reformer who will lead the charge on good government and put an end to nepotism and cronyism. Don’t even get me started. Just look at his track record as BDC Chairman, and his odd dealings with the Independence Party just weeks ago—aka “Checkgate.”
A committee endorsement has decidedly less meaning if it serves to advance the personal political aspirations of its leadership, which too often seems to be the case with the Bethlehem Democratic Committee. Bethlehem Democratic primary voters in Albany County’s 35th Legislative District have an opportunity to send a strong message opposed to a friends and family/self-promoting candidate like Mr. Kuhn.
Democratic Primary Candidate,