Candidates show zeal at Democratic picnic

Four Democrats running for office in November are shown at the Fulton County Democrat picnic Saturday at the Johnstown Moose Lodge: Thomas DiNapoli, seeking re-election as state comptroller; Michelle Ostrelich, seeking a state Senate seat held by Republican Jim Tedesco; Tedra Cobb, running against Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik for Congress; and Keith Rubino, seeking to replace Republican Marc Butler, who is retiring from the state Assembly. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

JOHNSTOWN — Zeal was not lacking at this year’s Democrat picnic Saturday as three up-and-coming candidates made pitches to get out the vote.

All three were united in pushing for universal health care, single-payer health care for all. Lamenting the lingering death of Obamacare, they said the people they’ve met during campaigning are hurting for lack of affordable care.

Tedra Cobb, who is running against Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik for Congress, said the government should provide affordable, portable health care for all instead of giving tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations–referencing President Donald Trump’s tax cuts, in an interview before speaking.

Michelle Ostrelich, who is running against Jim Tedisco for the State Senate, complained that Tedisco has done nothing to help people with health care costs.

“Socialized medicine is the only way to go,” said Keith Rubino, who is seeking the State Assembly seat left vacant by retiring Marc Butler.

The reason people aren’t getting affordable health care is greedy insurance companies, who “don’t look at human beings as human beings,” he said.

Rubino, who touted that he is 29 years old–just short of the magic maturity age of 30, said people who promote the state’s gun-control Safe Act and uphold the Second Amendment are “insulting” the public when people can “get guns willy-nilly off the streets.”

“This election is crucially important” for people who are “struggling to put food on the table,” educate their children, and find affordable health care, Cobb said.

“Republicans see government as the problem,” Cobb said. “Democrats see government as the solution.”

She blamed Republicans for the “lack of civility we wake up to every single day.”

Ostrelich said she’s been going door to door throughout her Senate district, finding a woman in Dolgeville who’s struggling to pay for both lifesaving medications and her mortgage, a man in Bleecker who died with dignity because of Obamacare, and a woman in Stratford whose son has been off opioids for two years because he’s been in prison. The Republicans have failed to address problems such as these, she said.

Ostrelich described herself as someone who “wherever I saw a problem, I jumped in” to help. She said she got that grit from her mother who told her children fairytales but changed the endings. Cinderella didn’t marry a rich man and live happily ever after. Instead she went to college and law school.

The candidates urged Democrats go out to tell their story and reach out to disaffected Republicans and unaligned voters.