By the way, if you are also a Monroe County resident, I'd encourage you to stop by the Monroe County Board of Elections website where you can download what your ballot will look like. (Knowing who is on your ballot before you get into the booth is always a plus.)
Representative in Congress, New York's 28th District
My choices are between Louise Slaughter and David Crimmen. I'll be voting for Crimmen who's far more conservative than Slaughter, and, unlike Slaughter, was opposed to the bailout.
State Senator, New York's 56th District
My choices are between Richard Dollinger and Joseph Robach.
Dollinger is fairly sparse on explaining his views on the issues. Like Dollinger, I'm pro-lower-property-taxes, pro-jobs, pro-reform, and pro-education.
But, in his attack ads, he attacks Robach for being pro-life, and his "pro-jobs" message focuses around a "living wage" and being against free trade.
I have a very difficult time voting for a politician at any level that doesn't recognize the sanctity of life. And, I'm afraid economic policies like a living wage and ending free trade will doom the current recession into a depression the way Smoot-Hawley did in 1930.
But, I don't intend to vote for Robach.
Robach clearly doesn't understand the limits of the U.S. Constitution (nor do most of New York's state politicians), having voted in favor of the state budget that included the clearly un-Constitutional "Amazon Tax."
Additionally, Robach was one of the "grantmaker" sponsors of Rochester's 2007 Image Out festival. Image Out is a Gay & Lesbian film festival, which included live nude performances (this link is not appropriate for minors or work) and outright pornography. His support of this work pretty clearly shows he doesn't hold the same values I do.
I wish there was some alternative 3rd party (preferably libertarian) candidate I could vote for here. Since there isn't, I won't be voting for anyone.
Member of Assembly, 131st District
Here my choices are Susan John or Jeffery Morrow.
Neither does a particular good job of explaining their policy positions. Morrow actually lists none, while John weaves hers throughout her biography.
In a previous election cycle, an attack ad against John showed how she had voted right in line with the NY Assembly Democrats something like 95% of the time. Coupling that with her self-praise for passing the increased NY minimum wage law (my thoughts on the national minimum wage increase here), her desire for more government control of healthcare, and her endorsement by radically pro-abortion groups like NARAL and NOW, she's right out of contention with me. She also voted for the Amazon-tax-containing state budget.
And, on a personal note, I actually mailed Susan John a letter about policy issues earlier this year and she never bothered to do me the courtesy of responding.
I'll consider voting for Morrow, simply because I'd like to see John unseated, but it's unlikely I'll vote for him unless/until I find out where he actually stands on the issues.
There is a third party candidate for this seat as well, Rafael Colon. But he's apparently been caught in a bribe/corruption scandal - so that's going to be a "no".
County Clerk is one of those positions that seems like it would be better to be an executive appointment rather than an elected position. A candidate's political views don't matter as much as they are just competent at the clerk's executive responsibilities.
The choices are Cheryl Dinolfo and Thomas Hasman. Dinolfo is the Republican incumbent and Hasman a Democratic challenge.
Dinolfo took the somewhat controversial step of suing the state DMV to stop licenses from being granted to illegal immigrants. Said licenses could have been used to allow illegal immigrants to collect welfare, buy firearms, vote, or other activities which recognize a NYS drivers license as proof of legal residency, so I support Dinolfo's move here.
Unfortunately for Dinolfo, Hasman makes a convincing case that he's more qualified and brings up the fact that under Dinolfo's leadership, social security numbers have repeatedly made their way onto County Clerk run websites. That's unacceptable. He also terms the Governor's attempt to make drivers licenses available to illegal immigrants "misguided" so I trust he'll maintain that stand should it be attempted again.
As a result, I'll be throwing my vote Hasman's way.
State Supreme Court Justice, 7th Judicial District
The rest of these are all judges. Like the County Clerk, I wish these were just appointments by some executive. Voting for judges is incredibly frustrating. By virtue of a judge's role, they can't actually tell you how they would rule in cases, so there are no positions on issues to decide by.
We get to pick choices from Joanne Winslow, Paul Riordan, Robert Lunn, and Elma Ann Bellini.
The Democrat & Chronicle has a write up on all four.
They all seem qualified. I'm most skeptical of Joanne Winslow, as she's received a glowing review from the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley, which is concerning to me because the advances towards gay marriage (with which I disagree) have all come from the courts.
I'm leaning towards voting for Robert Lunn, who's the incumbent, on the basis that if he were making awful rulings someone would be making a stink about it, but that doesn't seem to be the case. He is also the highest rated by the Monroe County Bar Association.
I'm also leaning towards Bellini who's won the support of the Republican, Independence, and Conservative parties.
And, both Lunn and Bellini won the endorsement of the Democrat & Chronicle. The D&C tends to have endorsements that are more liberal than conservative, so the shared endorsement of Republican Party, Conservative Party, and D&C provides a nice "tri-fecta" of endorsements that encourages me these two would be solid jurists.
County Court Judge
The only candidate is Frank Geraci. He had the endorsement of the Conservative, Independence, Democratic, and Working Families parties, which speaks well for him.
The D&C also endorsed Geraci, and I don't see any objection to voting for him.
Family Court Judge
There are two candidates, and we vote for two. The candidates are Joan Kohout and Gail Donofrio. Kohout is endorsed by the Democrats; Donofrio by the Republicans. The Independence, Conservative, and Working Families parties all support both.
The D&C has good things to say about Kohout and Donofrio and I don't see an objection to voting for either of them.