New Paltz Candidate Raps Mayor

New Paltz Candidate Raps Mayor

October 08, 2005
by Jeremiah Horrigan
Times Herald-Record
[email protected]

New Paltz – One of the first gay men to be publicly married by Jason West last year has denounced the New Paltz mayor for running progressive Green Party candidates in New Paltz and other county legislative districts.

Billiam Van Roestenberg, who is a Democratic candidate for legislative office in Plattekill's 9th District, said he's angry and disappointed that what he insisted on calling "Jason West's Green Party" is undercutting chances for Democratic Party incumbents and challengers in several key races next month.

"It's a terrible thing to do. Jason West thinks this election is all about Jason West, and I'm sorry, it's not," Van Roestenberg said yesterday. "I've come to believe Jason West's Green Party is a little too radical for me."

He said he was particularly upset with the Green Party's decision to run two candidates, Jennifer Loeb and Laura Heady, against Democratic incumbents Susan Zimet and Hector Rodriguez in the county's 10th District.

"That's a terrible thing to do, that could take votes from two very good and accomplished candidates who get things done."

Taking votes from non-Green Party candidates, West said in response, was exactly the point.

"It's not the job of the Green Party to get Democrats elected – that's not what we're here for – we're here to get Greens elected," he said.

West said he knew that Zimet and Rodriguez were upset with the Green Party for running candidates against them.

"They've said things like 'why are you doing this to us?', and I find that extremely offensive. It's as if they're saying 'this is my job," and what we're against in the Green Party is just that – the politics of entitlement."

As for Van Roestenberg's characterization of the party as "Jason West's Green Party," West said he was disappointed at the characterization, calling it both "petty and inaccurate."

He outlined the structure of the local Green Party, noting that he is not on its steering committee nor is he party chairman.

"He's trying to insult me personally for his own political advantage," West said.