By Ralph C. Lorigo
I have been involved in Erie County Conservative politics for over 35 years, and have served as the chairman of the party for 23. I have never taken a salary, stipend or even a reimbursement from party funds for political activities. In addition, no government funds flow into my law office from any governmental source.
As chairman, I have worked with both Democrats and Republicans to endorse and elect people who care about Erie County taxpayers. My executive committee and I look at a candidate’s platform, record and the office sought. We never assume that someone’s party registration fully defines one; and we know that not every elected office legislates or creates policy.
We work to apply our principles of smaller, smarter government to the candidates seeking our support. We then choose who will best carry that torch for the residents of Erie County. For the Erie County Conservative Party, this is not about party labels, but about principles. As long as I am chairman, that approach will continue.
My relationship with Democrats is not in trouble. In fact, the top of our ticket this year is Democrat Mickey Kearns for county clerk. In the past, we were proud to support Democrats such as Jimmy Griffin, Paul Tokasz, Dennis Gorski and countless others. They were conservative, pro-life, taxpayer-focused Democrats.
Today’s Democratic Party leadership of Chairman Jeremy Zellner and Mark Poloncarz would reject those officials outright. It is clear that conservative values of any kind are no longer welcome at Erie County Democratic Party headquarters.
In spite of the ever-increasing sprint to the extremes, the Erie County Conservative Party will remain true to our platform, right here in the middle with the majority of Erie County voters; people who believe in common-sense ideas like: taxes are too high; criminals belong in jail; police should be respected; law-abiding gun owners are not the root of our crime problem; plastic bags should be legal; and 5-year-olds don’t need to be taught about sex reassignment surgery in kindergarten.
Sadly, if you agree with just one of those principles today, you don’t have a place in the Democratic Party of Zellner and Poloncarz.
I can’t help but think about the Democratic Party when I started 36 years ago. Back then, the majority of Democrats I encountered crossed party lines to support Ronald Reagan. Now, the party of the working class has been replaced by ivory tower elitists who hate anyone with a different opinion.
Erie County residents vote for lower taxes, smarter spending and a government built to assist them with jobs, better roads and affordable services; all principles the Erie County Conservative Party champions.
The leaders of the Erie County Democratic Party may have taken a hard left, but Erie County Democrats have not.
Ralph C. Lorigo is chairman of the Erie County Conservative Party.