Conscience, Careful Reflection, or Corruption?

At the outset of the last election Mark Grisanti and I had lunch.  As he was seeking my support for his election, I asked the candidate several questions.  At the top of that list was his position on same-sex marriage.  The position of Grisanti’s predecessor was that homosexual marriage was “. . . immoral, unethical, but should be legal.”

Mr. Grisanti clearly stated that, while he would vote for civil unions, I could be sure he would never vote for “anything that had the word ‘marriage’ in it.”  Mr. Grisanti committed himself, in the strongest terms possible, to people desiring a senator who would defend traditional marriage.

At that same lunch meeting I told the senator-to-be the same thing I tell all politicians with whom I work, “You don’t have to always agree with me; just don’t lie to me.”  A politician who lets their “yea” be “yea” and their “nay” be “nay” may be rare, but he is the kind of person I can respect.  Integrity and trustworthiness are key issues when you seek the support of people in the political process.

We supported Mr. Grisanti, and he called upon that help several times during the election.  I was there watching the vote come in when our Island put him over the top.  I was there in Albany to celebrate his inauguration.  I’ve spoken with the senator on this issue repeatedly since he took office.  I’ve been assured by him personally and been asked to assure others that he’d never vote for anything with the word “marriage” in it.  Mark committed himself to that position, even while saying publically he was studying the issue, was torn, and was undecided.  As recently as 11 days before the vote was taken, Mark was firm in this position.

So what happened?  Is this a matter of conscience?  Whenever the topic of marriage is brought up, the senator refers to his Catholic faith.  As a practicing Catholic, his moral code tells him his vote is wrong.  That must be the answer of conscience for any observant Catholic.

What happened, was it the result of careful reflection?  Mr. Grisanti says that his training as a lawyer caused him to vote “yes.”  Was the senator recently admitted to the bar?  Is he a novice in the legal profession, just getting his feet under him?  Of course not.  It’s not that we want people in Albany who are robots, unable to think for themselves.  It’s just that we want people who campaign to consider carefully the issues of the day.  Of course we want people who can think about the issues; it’s just that we want them to think about them before they go to Albany.  We want them to think about them carefully before they make promises, or they shouldn’t make them.

We want people who keep their word; it’s that simple.  Any senator clearly declaring his position and asking for our vote owes it to us to keep his word.  If he can no longer vote as he promised, he owes it to us to abstain until he comes home, declares his new position and seeks the will of the electorate to return him to office with a new mandate.  The main question people voice to me is simply, “How will we ever be able to trust anything else he says?”  It’s a matter of integrity.  People who know about those things keep asking me, “How much is your word worth?”  I guess we will just have to watch and see.  Quietly, the senator has suggested that the governor can be very helpful in his district.

Supposedly, this is a non-political position.  Polls, calls to party leaders looking for support, calculations from staff about campaign funding and redistricting might suggest otherwise.  But political corruption?  No!  That’s just how politics works.  It’s just that I thought our citizen-senator wasn’t a politician.  I guess that changed too!

– Dr. Kevin Backus

“Both/And,” not “Either/or”

Dr. Kevin M. Backus

In our lives together (politics) there are liberals and conservatives.  Not all conservatives, however, are the same.  Often a distinction is made between fiscal conservatives and social conservatives.  All conservatives say that they are committed to small government and a conservative approach to finances. But some subscribe to the notion – that this can be achieved without a commitment to conservative moral values.

The Conservative Party exists because we do not believe that to be true.  To those who say that Conservatives should set social issues aside and stress only economic issues, I would suggest that is an impossible position!

Economic issues, of course, are urgent in New York State.  Economic problems are urgent, but social problems remain urgent in a way that blurs the distinction between social and economic issues.  Rep. Pence of Indiana recently noted that “you would not be able to print enough money in a thousand years to pay for the government you would need if the traditional
family continues to collapse.”

Our Party is committed to social and fiscally conservative policies. That is a unique position in modern day politics.

We hope you’ll find this website to be an helpful introduction and a useful means to stay up with key issues in both arenas and we encourage you to become involved.

Dr. Kevin M. Backus,
Grand Island Conservative Party

Conservatives Reclaim Row C in 2010 Election

The New York State Conservative Party has reclaimed the third line on the ballot and can once again proudly proclaim “Vote row C for Conservative!” This feat was accomplished by garnering 232,264 Conservative votes in the Gubernatorial election, well ahead of other minor party totals. The Working Families Party will move to the fourth line, row D and the Independence Party will slip down the ballot to row E.

The Conservatives made their greatest gains in upstate New York, drawing many votes away from the Independence Party line.  The New York State Conservative Party was founded in 1962 to balance the continual lean to the left by both the Democrat and Republican parties and to promote sound Conservative values.

Lorigo throws hat in Conservative ring

Erie County Conservative Party chairman Ralph Lorigo has become a Conservative Party candidate for  governor of New York, and visited a meeting of the Grand Island Conservative Party recently to lay out the differences between himself and Rick Lazio, his opponent in the Sept. 14 primary election.

Lorigo says the election is about more than deciding the Conservative nominee in the general election; it is about the basic principles of the Conservative Party and its existence as a major party in New York State politics.

“The current state Conservative Party leadership has betrayed rank and file Conservative Party members by nominating an unabashed supporter of abortion who would take away our guns and make us pay for his fat Wall
Street bonus with our tax dollars – that is Rick Lazio,” Lorigo said.  “Bill Buckley would be rolling over in his grave.”

“The Conservative Party was formed to push the New York Republican
Party of Nelson Rockefeller, Jacob Javits, and John Lindsay to the right. Now the New York Republican Party is pushing the Conservative Party to the left. Rick Lazio is not one of us and does not share our Conservative values.

“Per New York State election law, in order to qualify for an automatic ballot line, a party must win 50,000 votes in the gubernatorial election every four years.  “Rick Lazio cannot defeat Andrew Cuomo and will not win 50,000 votes on the Conservative Party line because there is no good reason for Conservative voters to vote for him,” says Lorigo.

Lorigo is a life-long Conservative Party member, an attorney, and resident of West Seneca.