Assembly hopeful Karen Bisso and Doug Hoffman at a press conference Bisso recently held in Plattsburgh.
PLATTSBURGH — Karen Bisso has been to parades, gun shows and tractor pulls.
She puts on her jersey each day and takes a hit, but she promised to talk to people and listen, and said she has done that over the past seven months.
“I kept that promise,” said Bisso, a Republican and Conservative candidate for the New York State Assembly in the 115th Assembly District.
She spoke recently at a press conference in the Town of Plattsburgh, during which Doug Hoffmann announced his full support of Bisso. He said he has known her for years, and she has an “incredible” work ethic and realistic approach to repairing New York state. Bisso, a veteran teacher and businesswoman, is tired of unfunded mandates in education, Hoffmann said, and has spoken out against rising taxes and increased government regulations that hamper business and job development.
Following that announcement, Hoffman, a Lake Placid businessman and former congressional candidate, attacked Assemblywoman Janet Duprey.
Bisso and David Kimmel are seeking to defeat Duprey, the incumbent, at the Republican primary on Sept. 13. The winner will run against Democrat Timothy Carpenter, a City of Plattsburgh councilor from Ward 1.
Hoffmann accused Duprey of double-dipping by drawing her Assembly salary while collecting a state funded retirement.
“She is an elected representative and is supposed to be a role model,” said Hoffmann, who admitted she is doing nothing against the law, referring to it as a “loop hole.”
“Additionally, as a resident of the area, I watched effects on families of corrections officers and employees when Camp Gabriels closed under her watch,” Hoffmann continued. “These families had to suffer the financial cutbacks.”
Hoffmann said Duprey often casts liberal votes.
“As a conservative, I am frankly disgusted by Janet Duprey ignoring her constituents by voting to change our historical and religious definition of marriage.”
He called for voters to support Bisso on Primary Day, Sept. 13.
Duprey, reached by phone, pointed out that she put in 31 years in county government and earned her retirement, a decision she made to protect her family. She further pointed out that it was not a “loop hole” but a law that allows an individual to retire and hold an elected position.
“I worked very hard for Clinton County and did a good job,” Duprey said. “By taking retirement I am guaranteed retirement income that will protect my husband.”
Duprey explained that it was the decision of the Commissioner of Corrections to close Camp Gabriels, along with other facilities around the state.
In fact, Duprey and Senator Betty Little fought to keep Camp Gabriels open.
She was unsure how the families suffered, pointing out that the corrections officers landed other jobs and did not have to leave the area.
“It is always difficult when a facility closes and you never want to see it happen, but when people can still go home at night and put their head on their own pillows,” Duprey said. “We are fortunate to have back up that allows that to happen.”
Duprey firmly believes gay marriage is a human rights issue and people are entitled to happiness with the person they love. She doesn’t understand how anyone can deny someone the opportunity to be happy with someone he or she loves and wants to share a life with while enjoying the same legal protections “that are not available under any other thing but marriage.”
“I am very happy I made that vote and came down on the right side of history.”
Bisso said at the press conference that she would have voted differently on gay marriage.
She said after speaking with people it is clear that the topics they are most concerned about are taxes, jobs and the “ever approaching hand of state government.”
“I want to bridge the things we have in common to move forward.”