Independence Party of New York has been under attack recently and its critics have called for the party’s decertification. They claim that the Independence Party doesn’t stand for anything and is a cesspool of corruption and fraud. I’m here to tell you this is far from the case!
The foundation of Independence Party emerged out of the 1992 Ross Perot presidential run. Our core beliefs were derived from Mr. Perot platform of government reform, balanced budgets, jobs and election reform. In New York, some of the local issues we support are the Dream Act, Medical Marijuana, Brownfield Cleanup Program and the Scaffold Act.
Most importantly, the party does not take stands on most social issues because we feel these issues politically cloud the discussion of other bread and butter topics. However, we have no problem if our candidates take their own positions on social issues. I know that a number of political leaders believe you can’t be a legitimate party without taking a stand on social issues. One of the biggest critics on our non-stance on social issues is Mr. Michael Long, Chairman of the New York Conservative Party. To understand why we do not place an emphasis on social issues, we have to go back to our roots. In 1992, I volunteered on the Ross Perot campaign, here in New York. We had volunteers from both the left and right and there were times when we would get into heated discussions on such issues as gun control, abortion and the death penalty. We all realized that there were issues that we felt were more important to the future of this nation, so we agreed to disagree.
That’s why we have our own members who do run for office. As a matter of fact, the Independence Party has scores of members elected to political offices around the state. In Dutchess County alone, we have 6 elected IP members. Though we have not been successful in New York City, we still have members, such as myself running for political office. Sometimes we will even get cross endorsed by the Democrats and Republicans parties. In 2006, Timothy Gordon became our first elected IP State Assemblyman. We presently have Independence Party member Fred Thiele as a member of the NYS Assembly.
Now, I will not deny that there are those that do commit fraud under the banner of the Independence Party. Where there is power or perceived power you will always have unscrupulous people vying for that power. The most corrupt group in the Independence Party proclaim themselves the New York City Independence Party.
The core of this group all belong to the social therapy cult founded by the late Fred Newman with their current leader Lenora Fulani. I know I use the word cult, but that’s what they are. Just check the Anti-Defamation League or Dennis Kings web sites to verify this. This group has been around since the late 60s and has infiltrated many different organizations and will do anything to take control of that organization. They claim to have almost 4000 active members throughout New York City, then why do they need to forge signatures every year. I have challenged their petitions numerous times over the years but because of New York Election laws and my lack of funding to hire an attorney or hand writing experts, my case were dismissed. If the cult had that number of active members as they say, it should have no problem collecting 5000 signatures needed for Mayor of New York City. Through my efforts and the efforts of our state party, the influence of this group has been greatly eliminated. Our state organization, with the help of people like me, will be doing all endorsement in the 2014 election cycle in New York City.
I’ll also admit that we’ve had a couple of bad apples in the state party and we had a county chairman convicted for misuse of party funds. But then again, Clarence Norman, the ex-Democratic chair of Brooklyn went to jail for misuse of power and Jay Savino, the ex-Republican chair of the Bronx is also on trial. That’s just to name a few. Should we demand the disbanding of the Democratic and Republican parties!
We agree that there are many people registered in the Independence Party that thought they were registering no party affiliation. That doesn’t mean the party is a complete fraud. As was stated by the Daily News and we agree, the voter registration cards, in the box for party affiliation, it should start with “I do not wish to enroll in any political party.” This would alleviate this problem. In fact, we will be advocating this change in our 2014 NY State Legislative Agenda.
In conclusion, I have demonstrated that we are a real party with real issues. In addition, we have true Independence Party Members running for office and being elected. So Mr. Astorino and Mr. Jacobs, your attacks on my party amounts too false charges and half-truths that are unwelcome.
Next time, please do your research!
New York State Independence Party State Executive Committee Member at Large
Candidate for the New York State Senate 28th District endorsed by both Independence and Republican parties