Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Greens try direct approach for campaigns

Posted By on Wed, Aug 28, 2013 at 10:56 AM

With the exception of Rochester mayoral candidate Alex White, the Green Party of Monroe County's candidates haven't kept a high profile this election season. Though much of the public and media attention has been focused on the Democratic mayoral primary, which is coming up on September 10.

That's not to say that the Greens aren't trying to get their message out. They've been bypassing traditional media and  using other channels, such as social media, to try to reach voters directly. Last night, I had the chance to tune in to a Livestream with the party's county sheriff candidate, Emily Good, and City Council candidate Drew Langdon.
It was just the two candidates, though they did take questions from viewers. Good and Langdon focused largely on the topics of justice and public safety and, though the discussion felt a little academic, they addressed some important issues. They spent a fair amount of time talking about how communities of color are disproportionately incarcerated and how restorative justice and job training could alleviate the inequity.

But Good also questioned why the county contracts with an out-of-town corporation, Correctional Medical Care,  to provide medical services at the jail. An Albany Times Union article published earlier this year said that the state's Commission of Corrections, via inmate death reports, has been sounding alarms about for-profit jail health care companies, including CMC, for several years. In one inmate death report from 2009, the Commission of Corrections recommended that Monroe County terminate its contract with Correctional Medical Care. But CMC still has an active contract with the county, according to the company's website.

Incumbent Republican Sheriff Patrick O'Flynn, who is seeking re-election, has run a quiet campaign so far. And it's unlikely he'd bring up the issue of the jail medical contracts on his own.

This is one of the local Green Party's strengths: making sure candidates from the larger parties are pressed on issues they might otherwise ignore. The candidates raise the profile of some important topics, which encourages public discussion.

The party has been archiving its candidate Livestreams, which provide insight into the issues they're talking about. They are available here.

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