Zephyr Teachout made a campaign speech stop in New Paltz at Hasbrouck Park on Saturday morning. Former Presidential candidate and current Senator Bernie Sanders arrived to introduce Teachout. Sanders offered a brief version of his charismatic oratory without script. He has known Teachout for many years and he firmly believes that if she is elected to the House of Representatives, she will be a formidable force opposing fracking, bringing jobs to our district, ending foreign trade agreements that hurt American workers, supporting local farmers, and protecting the environment.
About 90% of the one-thousand attendees were students from the State University at New Paltz. Most other attendees appeared to be local retirees. One middle-aged woman without a hat fainted from either heat or excitement. Before his talk, I spotted Mr. Sanders a block away from the park and shook his hand. He became the second presidential primary candidate whose hand I have shaken. (The other was Richard Nixon at the Long Island Hicksville Mall when I was twelve.)
After Bernie had revved up the crowd, Teachout spoke out against the recent Citizens United court ruling. She spoke of how our democracy has been changing into an oligarchy ruled by billionaires. Recalling the heritage and critique of Teddy Roosevelt, she quoted Roosevelt, saying her task was to “To dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politicians is the first task.” Roosevelt not only busted up private monopolies to stimulate the economy, but he cleansed the Augean stables of government pork and corruption. Teachout’s main emphasis was on job creation and the dilemma of climate change.
She blasted her opponent, Republican John Faso of Kinderhook, for being financed by two oligarchs who have contributed half a million dollars apiece to his campaign. The average contribution to Teachout’s campaign was only nineteen dollars. What do they hope to buy she asked? Profits for CEOs? If elected, Teachout promised to be a representative working for the whole district, including Republicans and Independents. She said that she wanted to serve on the Farm Committee to support farmers.