Leon Koziol, J.D.
Yesterday afternoon I had occasion to attend a Matt Castelli public forum at the town offices of Lowville, New York in the far north reaches of the state, only an hour from the Canadian border. He is challenging incumbent Elise Stefanic in the 21st congressional district which extends from Vermont to Lake Ontario, Mohawk River to the St. Lawrence River. It is by far the largest geographically, comprised mostly of farmers, small businesses and middle class families.
I was anxious to determine if a candidate for such a high level position was anywhere on the radar of a reform movement seeking to gain accountability for federal funding abuses under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act (child support program). I also wanted to see if his campaign promises were genuine given my four decades in law and politics, having made a run for the same office on the same party line in 2006. What I discovered was alarming.
Mr. Castelli refused to address my questions before a small audience of 30-40, mostly senior citizens, even though there was still ten minutes left to his question-answer session per his public release. Instead, he invited me to share my concerns privately at its conclusion. However that proved more alarming when he displayed utter ignorance of the Title IV-D program that impacts so many in the district he proposes to represent. He also evinced a lack of genuine concern for parental rights. Having completed numerous jury selections as a trial attorney, I concluded that his candidacy was more committed to self-promotion than public service.
To be fair, Mr. Castelli was a political newcomer highly distracted by media and attendee interruptions. And he did ask for a copy of my relevant 2015 report to former U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch. But my time is valuable, and resources limited, as it appeared unlikely that he would ever read it. Instead, his seemingly blind commitment to the liberal-socialist agenda plaguing our federal government convinced me that any exchange of documents would be a gesture in futility.
Sadly, and ominously,this is the political landscape of today.
I therefore urge all Democrats to cross party lines and vote for Elise Stefanic on this year’s election ballot. The Republicans are sure to take over the House, and as a high ranking member, Congesswoman Stefanic is far more suited to give us the clout we need in northern New York.