The difference between Republicans and Democrats

EDITOR: Independent voters and those who vote "for the man rather than the party" need to be careful when casting their ballots this November. There is a very clear difference between the two major political parties and their candidates for the 23rd Congressional seat.

Democrats look for a qualified candidate who will represent the people in the district. This means that the candidate must be able to think for himself and his constituents and be willing to vote for their interests if those interests differ from the national party. From a Democrat's perspective, that is the strength of the Democratic Party.

The Republican Party has chosen a candidate who will not think for himself or his constituents, but who will vote the "party line" regardless. The Republican Party sees this as the basis of their political strength. When a Democrat asks a Republican how they can possibly support their candidate, Tom Reed, for the 23rd Congressional seat considering his qualifications to be a representative, they will quite honestly tell you it doesn't matter. What they mean is that he will go to Washington and hold the seat and will simply vote as he is told to vote by the national party. Perhaps you have already noticed that this is exactly what Tom Reed has done in his first term in Congress. Approach him in one of his highly restricted "town meetings" and you will see that he sticks to the Republican talking points he has been told to address. He proves to be completely uninformed on or uninterested in any issue of local importance. We deserve better than that.

Nate Shinagawa, the Democratic candidate for the 23rd Congressional seat is a well educated, well informed candidate who can think independently and who is very committed to representing the people in his district. The choice is clear, will you vote for someone who will represent you or who will simply be another rubber stamp?

Nancy A. Marion

Penn Yan, N.Y.

Keene for judge

EDITOR: I am writing this letter in support of Jerry Keene for Tioga County Court Judge. I have known Jerry all my life. Jerry and I grew up together on Howard Street in Waverly at a time when kids could spend the days outside playing in the neighborhood and parents didn't have to worry about their safety. We attended the same grade school, high school and played on some of the same sports teams. As adults our families have gone on vacations, spent time at each other's home during the holidays, watched our children grow up together and more. We are very close friends.

Many of you know Jerry from his work as District Attorney and as an attorney and as an attorney in our county for more than 30 years. I am writing to inform you not about his professional career, but about the quality of person he is from someone who has know him all his life. Jerry is not only an honest, fair and good family man, he is the type of person you can county on when you need him the most. I have personally seen him get up in the middle of the night while no vacation and go to the aid of someone in need. As a child he was always the one who not only knew the rules of the game, he insisted we follow them. As a new attorney fresh out of college Jerry quickly earned the respect and admiration of the business community. He is stable, good natured, responsible and hard working. Over the years, I have seen him accept criticism with grade and humility. He does not gloat over his success or quit when things do not go his way. He is a good listener and he is respectful and considerate of the opinions of others.

It is my opinion that Jerry has the disposition that a judge should have and that he would be an excellent judge. I am encouraging all of you to join me and vote for Jerry Keene in the upcoming election.

William Soprano

Waverly, N.Y.