In response to Rich Cahill's dog whistling campaign, against Alderman Hoffay;
I’ve often been asked why I chose to leave the priesthood and it is a difficult thing to explain. First let me state that it was my choice and mine alone. Even five years later I was asked to reconsider and return. As happy and rewarding as school had been, even the seminary had its good moments, I was not prepared to live the life of a priest. I know that now, at the time all I knew was that I was increasingly unhappy. There are personal rewards for being involved in the lives of so many people, whether in a parish or school, but at the core there must be a strong center of personal belief and happiness or at least serenity. Mine was challenged in ways I was not prepared for.
My parents both died in December of 1979, after five years of suffering and pain. It was the great test of family and faith. I was away and alone and unforgiving for their suffering. At the same time there was a strike of the lay faculty association at the school and my sympathies were with the lay teachers and not the Archdiocese. With divided loyalties and personal tragedy, the situation was untenable and I decided to leave. I do not regret that decision.
A greater challenge was the personal acceptance of who I was, a decision I easily put off for years in the seminary and clergy. Slowly and with difficulty I came to accept that I was gay, would not marry and raise a family as my siblings had done. My family’s reaction to all this tumult in my life was the same, steady, love and acceptance I have always found there.
My active participation in a recovery program has helped me to accept who I am, find the serenity that I have always looked for in my life and take life one day at a time. This is the strong foundation that also allows me to contribute my talents and gifts in public and political life.
I did find that clergy life had unexpectedly prepared me for politics, perhaps it was a keener appreciation of human nature or an increased sense of institutional dynamics. Shortly after returning to Kingston in 1982, I joined the City Democratic Committee, becoming the Chair, then the Ulster County Democratic Committee Chair in 1990. I found I really liked the political life and had some success working on campaigns I believed in, including Bill Clinton’s Presidential campaign, Maurice Hinchey’s Congressional campaign, Kevin Cahill’s Assembly campaign, Judge Karen Peter’s Supreme Court campaign and Judge Mary Work’s campaign for Family Court.
I served as County Chair for nine years and worked on numerous campaigns and issues. My love for Kingston found a perfect expression in Mayor TR Gallo’s campaigns and I served on various boards as part of his administration, including the Kingston Housing Authority and the Kingston Local Development Corporation. I also met an impressive young attorney from New York, Eliot Spitzer, worked on his campaign and then spent eight years working in the Attorney General’s Office.
My relationship with the Kingston Common Council started during my time as City Chair. I was fascinated by the interplay of personality, issue and institution and regularly attended the Council caucuses and meetings. Later on I discovered that one of my grandmother’s uncles had served on the Council and I was hooked. The Council position is unusual as there is an informal administrative relationship between the Alderman and the Ward as well as a more formal legislative role, more hands on than the County Legislature, for example. I can honestly say this is the only elected position I have ever really wanted, in-spite of my long association with the elective process.
After years away, my life has come full circle, returning to the Kingston I always loved and doing a job I prepared for through life experience more than education. Hopefully there are a few more chapters to come in this bio and I can make the case that the people of Ward Two are well served by my representation on the Common Council.
Enough is Enough-
The attacks on Alderman Cahill's blog against Second Ward Alderman Tom Hoffay are unacceptable and disgusting and enough is enough.
Tom Hoffay is a man of integrity and great moral character, he lead my party with distinction for 10 years and is a leader in this community, working under Attorney General and Governor Eliot Spitzer, a former Chair of the Kingston Housing Authority he is someone that I admire.
For Rich Cahill to allow, and I'll say it because we all know its true, to write those comments on his blog talking about Tom in the manner that he did is just disgraceful.
I publicly am calling upon Rich Cahill to delete those comments and apoligize.
Furthermore, the comments about Jenifer Fuentes not being from the area are laughable at best, maybe people forget Jen Ringwood, who came from Long Island and served Ward 2 very well.
The fact of the matter is Mrs. Fuentes, chose Kingston to be her home and has lived in the Ward for many years and is raising her family here. And, anyone that knows Jen, knows she is civic minded and will be a great Alderman and stand up for the residents of Ward 5.
County Executive Mike Hein is holding a fundraiser, tickets range from $ 100- $1000 and a portion of the fundraiser will benifit Our Democratic candidates Debra Schneer and Gilda Riccardi. More details to follow....
Alderman Anne Marie DiBella is retiring at the end of the year and I think it would be nice if the City Of Kingston Democratic committee would host a dinner in her honor, recognizing the hard work and achievements she was able to accomplish under her tenure as Alderman in Ward 5.
Julian Schriebman, chair of the UC Democratic committee wrote a letter in this weeks Kingston Times that was very on point in regards to the race for UC Court Judge and I think it behooves everyone to take a look.
Our sources in Ulster say an independent poll conducted, show incumbent Supervisor Nick Woerner trailing challenger Jim Quigley's by 8 points. It's early so who knows if that number will hold.
Rochester town board member Manuela, did not resign her office despite swearing under oath that she is a resident of Queens County.
Another funny tid bit, Manuela has claimed she is the victim of an attack launched by Len and Terry Bernardo in an effort to keep her off the ballot.
Fact of the matter is, it was Manuela who (unsuccessfully) challenged and tried to throw Terry Bernardo off the ballot during the petition process. Terry, nor anyone else challenged or tried to knock Manuela off the ballot, there will be a primary in September and may the best person (Terry Bernardo) win. :~)
Rumor has it we may see a very young legislator as Minority leader in the County Legislature next year....we will see.