SAM Chairman Volpe encourages early voting—and votes for SAM candidates

To the editor:

Vote! Vote! Vote! And remember how fortunate we are to have the right!

Next Tuesday, we go to the polls to elect officials across our state and country. For the first time in New York, we can vote early. It is about time!  The polls are open in New Rochelle the rest of this week and in our community next Tuesday. The address and list of times for early voting is as follows:

Early Voting — 90 Beaufort Place, New Rochelle

Thursday  — Noon to 8 p.m.

Friday  — 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Saturday — Noon to 5 p.m.

Sunday — Noon to 5 p.m.

Our entire community should applaud and provide a standing ovation to the service of retiring Town Supervisor Peter DiPaolo. Pete’s unparalleled service across many organizations may never be matched. I wish you well and thank you for your dedication.

I write to ask you to support the SAM Party candidates in Pelham—Adam Kagan for town justice, and Kristin Burke and Maura Curtin for town board, all of whom are in contested races. I ask that you also support Dan McLaughlin for town supervisor, who is running unopposed. Voting for Dan will show that you agree he will be a wonderful town supervisor, serving all residents regardless of party affiliation. 

As the chairperson of a new political party in our state, the SAM Party, I thought it important for residents to understand what the SAM party stands for and how we nominated candidates for the SAM line this fall.

Fundamentally, SAM believes the two party, Republican versus Democrat, system is broken. The rhetoric and divisiveness—nationally and locally—have reached an all-time high, and it must stop to actually solve problems. SAM looks for candidates who want to actually identify and try to solve problems by using facts and data that concern the entire populace without regard to specific individual beliefs. Process is important, and SAM candidates must recognize that if elected they will listen to and serve people, not party leaders. We believe in “report cards” for elected officials based on performance in addressing constituent needs. We also support term limits so governments embrace change and new ideas. 

This fall, SAM chose candidates by actually interviewing interested individuals. We then had a state committee vet and consider each candidate, supporting or rejecting them for nomination to the ballot. We refused to offer the SAM Party line based on a party chairman or other recommendation, fundraising or donor gathering ability, political or other connections and/or any other influencing factor. I chose to sit out the interviews of local candidates except for Dan McLaughlin, who I spoke to directly. SAM has over 100 individuals on its line across the state. We have supported many Republicans, many Democrats and a number of SAM-only candidates.

SAM believes generally that district attorney and judicial races should be non-partisan and that judicial posts should not be lifetime positions. For these and the reasons that follow, I endorse Adam Kagan. A former colleague in village government, Kagan is, perhaps, the most prepared local elected official I have ever served with. I served on town and village boards for almost 14 years and served with many genuinely passionate, caring, dedicated folks; no one out worked Adam. We did not see eye to eye on a few topics, but always found a way to reach consensus. We did not always agree philosophically, but always compromised. Ultimately, we always did what was best for the Pelham community. On legal issues, I have seen and worked closely with Adam. He is thorough, forward thinking, careful, diligent, studious, and I have seen him apply these skills in a non-partisan manner. These traits will serve him well on the bench.

As for the others running, all governments need term limits. It saddens me that in the Town of Pelham, we have two parties that fight over dominance and control at the expense of actual problem identification, consideration of ways to solve those problems and moving our community forward with real action. The party leaders should disavow partisan politics and promote service of committed, community-first individuals. They talk the talk, but refuse to walk the walk when they only promote Republican or Democratic officials and denigrate their opposition no matter the quality of their ideas.

Some have asked why a former Republican (I was also a Democrat once) is not supporting the “incumbents.” Simply put, we need to embrace real change, we need to respect differences of opinion, we need to promote and allow new voices to lead and we need elected officials who will serve our community and recognize when it is time to step aside and let others take a leadership role. To promote these ideas and thoughts, let’s support Adam, Kristin, Maura and Dan in this election.

When we get through to Nov. 6, let’s hope we can get back to serving the community and its residents without regard to which party dominates a board or position. Let’s move Pelham forward with new ideas and a process oriented, problem-solving approach to government.

Michael Volpe

103 Boulevard