PLATTSBURGH - The local community is still in shock and awe of comments reportedly made by Clinton County Legislator Samuel J. Trombley, Area-2, at a Clinton County Legislature meeting last week.
According to the Press-Republican, the 74-year-old Republican representative from Ellenburg made comments during the June 22 meeting that were published in the daily newspaper the following day. When the issue of the state approving same-sex marriage legislation was brought up during the meeting, Trombley was said to have made his position on the matter known, being quoted as saying, "I'm surprised the health department has not come out against this because we are going to have an HIV epidemic if this passes ... [The health department is] always complaining about tobacco and smoking, I'm surprised they didn't say anything about this."
The comments, which Trombley confirmed he made in the June 24 edition of the Press-Republican, were made just days before same-sex marriage was legalized by the New York State Legislature and Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.
Several attempts were made by Denton Publications to reach Trombley for comment, though Trombley did not return phone calls as of Tuesday afternoon. Clinton County Legislature Chairman James R. Langley Jr., Area-7, also declined comment on the matter.
Regardless, Trombley's comments sparked a firestorm of controversy in the community, with comments on both the Press-Republican website and Facebook pages for Denton Publications in response to the legislator's position.
Carrie Clark of Plattsburgh wrote on the Facebook page for the 'burgh, stating "Ignorance is the only word that comes to mind," referring to Trombley's comments. Brian Rascoe Baker, also of Plattsburgh, wrote "What's even more horrifying than Mr. Trombley's putrid public comment is the fact that there are people out there who will buy into his paranoid, homophobic theories."
Others, like Mike Kelly of Plattsburgh, have encouraged residents to attend the next regularly scheduled meeting of the legislature, to voice their opinion for or against Trombley's public comments. The legislature will next meet Wednesday, July 13, beginning at 7 p.m. Meetings are held on the second floor of the Clinton County Government Center, 137 Margaret St.