Thursday, April 9, 2009

Suggestions to Draft - Frank Merola

My next in my long, drawn out line of suggestions that I think the Republicans should draft for Congressional runs in 2010 is Frank Merola. Frank Merola is the current Rensselaer County Clerk and has served in that capacity since being elected in 1998. His biography from the Rensselaer County GOP can be found here.

Merola has served in public office for over a decade and has been a proud public servant. He never faltered, he never failed in his role. He received numerous awards for his dedication to public service as County Clerk, including - Commissioner of Motor Vehicles Service award (1999), the Jack Dwyer award (2001), Troy Boy’s Club Community Service Award (2003), a recipient of the NYS Archives award for Advocacy on behalf of Records Management (2004), and annual Rensselaer County Sheriff’s award for honesty, integrity and dedication in serving county residents (2005). These awards just continue to show the honesty and integrity of this public servant who, thus far, has been proud to serve in this capacity. In 2010, I suggest he tries to move forward in a federal role.

He has been a silent civil servant thus far except for one major instance, when his role in the way Rensselaer County functions was being explicitly warped by state government. When former Governor Eliot Spitzer came forward and stated that he wanted to hand out driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, Merola stood up and lead the charge of county clerks throughout New York State to rally against it. He led a law suit against the state for attempting to violate federal immigration laws. He was on national news for his actions, standing up for the principles he held dear. He won in the court of public opinion and Spitzer stepped down. Merola then went back to doing what he does best...serve the people of Rensselaer County.

This devoted civil servant has done everything to earn our respect and he is the perfect choice to run for Congress. He has a base of support in Rensselaer County and will be fighting against newly elected Congressman Paul Tonko. Tonko is an entrenched politician who served as an Assemblyman for over two decades and then ran for Congress after serving briefly for former Governor Spitzer. The 21st District is considered one of the most Democratic districts in the state of New York that isn't in New York City, yet Jim Burhmaster was able to garner 35% of the vote in 2008, in a massively Democratic leaning year and 10% better than any Republican had done in the past 12 years with one exception...where it was still 5% better than the GOP candidate. Merola has a great track record to point to as a devoted civil servant. He's never faltered and has served the public flawlessly for a decade.

Without the President on the ballot and considering that the Democratic national establishment will start out ignoring the 21st district, a Republican could have a chance in 2010. A well known figure like Merola with a positive civil service record and a good support base could perform well. If Republicans do well in 2010 nationally, as is common during most off-year elections for newly elected Presidents, then Merola could very well be the best choice that the Republican Party of New York could have for this district.

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