Over the last several years, our national political discourse has been debased by continual lies, petty and immature personal attacks, and a general atmosphere of toxic negativity – all of which is epitomized by President Trump. Unfortunately, as evidenced by a few letters to the editor in last week’s Spotlight, some candidates are now attempting to import President Trump’s brand of poisonous counterfactual campaigning into Bethlehem’s local politics.
George Harder’s letter to the editor in last week’s Spotlight included an assortment of unhinged and fabricated accusations against numerous Democratic leaders. To give just one example, Mr. Harder claims that I have “worked for years behind the scenes urging” our state legislators to support the “2 percent Transfer Fee” on real estate transactions. This is false, and Mr. Harder knows it is false. I have never supported a transfer fee, and I have never publicly or privately urged our state legislators or anyone else to impose a transfer fee.
Similarly, my opponent in the June 25 Democratic primary for the Albany County Legislature, Sean Raleigh (who is Mr. Harder’s running mate on the Independence Party line), also wrote a letter to the editor comprised entirely of misleading attacks. For example, Mr. Raleigh accuses me of “nepotism” and being a “friends and family” candidate. This is absurd. There is literally not a single member of my family that works (or has ever worked) for the government anywhere in Bethlehem, Albany County, or New York State. I have no idea what Mr. Raleigh is talking about.
Prior to writing this letter, neither I nor my supporters have uttered a negative word about Mr. Raleigh during this campaign. I have instead attempted to run a positive, issue-based campaign focused on my record on the Bethlehem Town Board, my platform for positive change in the Albany County Legislature, and going door-to-door to talk to voters. It is remarkable that Mr. Raleigh’s letter is entirely comprised of false and misleading condemnations of me and (strangely) County Legislative Chair Andrew Joyce. Mr. Raleigh evidently has nothing positive to say about his agenda or his experience but would rather wage a negative, scorched-earth campaign directly out of the Trump playbook.
False political attacks are ultimately born of desperation, a loss of perspective, and a desire to mislead voters. I am confident that, as in the past, Bethlehem voters will reject such tactics and instead support positive and substantive campaigns that enhance our civic discourse.
Jeffrey Kuhn, Democratic Candidate for the Albany County Legislature, 35th District