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In response to Assemblyman Gary Finch's article of Democrats "focused on Tide pods" not reform, I wanted to say that he is somewhat correct but is beyond out of touch with what is good for the district. This is not the first time Mr. Finch has attacked the Democrats in the Assembly while singing the praise of his minority conference. This is a direct contradiction to his October 2014 statement of being an independent voice. An independent voice will speak on issues that are important to the district and put the constituents first. An independent voice will work with the majority conference of that chamber to get legislation passed. Mr. Finch has done none of that. Tide pods should not be a priority in our state government right now.

However, the Democrats are working with the minority conference to pass important legislation as well. For example, Republican Assembly member Billy Jones of Franklin County sponsored legislation to provide relief for Plattsburgh-area flood victims. The measure passed the Assembly with support of those same Democrats Mr. Finch is constantly attacking. In bi-partisan fashion, Mr. Jones was able to work with the Assembly Democrats and succeed in providing something beneficial to his constituents. While I agree that issues such as stronger ethics reform is of importance, Mr. Finch could focus his attention on other things such as additional funding for his municipalities for his school districts, infrastructure or funding for cleaner water in the surrounding lakes.

Since Mr. Finch has been in Albany, how many Finch-sponsored bills have passed in the Assembly? My guess would be zero! Mr. Finch has displayed his unwillingness to work across the aisle and has admitted that he is voiceless, powerless, unable to pass legislation and unhelpful to his constituents. His interpretation of an "independent" voice is clearly his own voice. It is best for Mr. Finch to step aside and let a Democrat effectively serve the people of the 126th Assembly District.

Jermaine Bagnall-Graham


Jermaine Bagnall-Graham is a declared candidate for the 2018 state 126th Assembly District election.