The​ ​Ogdensburg​ ​Candidates​ ​Forum​ ​Tuesday​ ​evening​ (Oct. 10) ​positioned​ ​the​ ​candidates​ ​in​ ​this​ ​year’s State​ ​Assembly​ ​race.​ ​​ ​It​ ​was​ ​a​ ​fine​ ​display​ ​of​ ​incumbent Assemblyman​ ​Parker​ ​Space​ ​(R-Sussex) who​ ​had nothing​ ​to​ ​say​ ​about​ ​the​ ​real​ ​issues​ ​beyond​ ​his​ ​desire​ ​to​ ​lower​ ​taxes​ ​by​ ​bankrupting​ ​New Jersey’s​ ​schools,​ ​questionable​ ​temperament​ ​on​ ​the​ ​part​ ​of​ ​Harold​ ​Wirths,​ ​and​ ​an​ ​egregious display​ ​of​ ​dynastic​ ​entitlement​ ​to​ ​their​ ​seats​ ​in​ ​the​ ​legislature.

Who​ ​is​ ​Harold​ ​Wirths​ ​anyway?​ ​​ ​He​ ​was​ ​an​ ​early​ ​supporter​ ​of​ ​Christie​ ​in​ ​his​ ​first​ ​primary,​ ​a political​ ​score​ ​for​ ​Wirths.​ ​​ ​For​ ​his​ ​loyalty,​ ​he​ ​was​​appointed​ ​by​ ​Christie​ ​to​ ​Labor​ ​Commissioner (after​ ​he​ ​was​ ​proclaimed​ ​unqualified​ ​for​ ​the​ ​Department​ ​of​ ​Agriculture)​ ​for​ ​a​ ​6​ ​year​ ​term,​ ​and then​ ​“promoted”​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Parole​ ​Board​ ​with​ ​no​ ​experience​ ​in​ ​law​ ​enforcement​ ​whatsoever.

Wirths​ ​has​ ​made​ ​over​ ​one​ ​million​ ​dollars​ ​off​ ​the​ ​backs​ ​of​ ​taxpayers​ ​as​ ​a​ ​career​ ​politician​ ​-​ ​but when​ ​confronted​ ​with​ ​this​ ​fact​ ​he​ ​said,​ ​“I​ ​don’t​ ​know​ ​what​ ​my​ ​pay​ ​was,​ ​maybe​ ​somewhere​ ​close to​ ​a​ ​million,​ ​I​ ​don’t​ ​know.”​ ​​ ​He​ ​went​ ​on​ ​to​ ​claim​ ​he​ ​hadn’t​ ​even​ ​sought​ ​the​ ​positions​ ​he​ ​was appointed​ ​for​ ​by​ ​Christie.​ ​​ ​During​ ​his​ ​time​ ​as​ ​freeholder,​ ​this​ ​“tax​ ​saving”​ ​politician​ ​actually raised​ ​taxes​ ​by​ ​26.2​ ​%​ ​or​ ​14​ mMillion​ ​dollars.

Towards​ ​the​ ​end​ ​of​ ​the​ ​forum,​ ​Mr.​ ​Wirths​ ​lost​ ​his​ ​temper​ ​and​ ​began​ ​yelling​ ​at​ ​the​ ​audience about​ ​how​ ​opposed​ ​to​ ​legal​ ​marijuana​ ​he​ ​is.​ ​​ ​It’s​ ​concerning​ ​that​ ​he​ ​refuses​ ​to​ ​acknowledge any​ ​of​ ​the​ ​real​ ​issues​ ​that​ ​we​ ​are​ ​facing,​ ​like​ ​the​ ​highest​ ​number​ ​of​ ​residents​ ​leaving​ ​our​ ​district in​ ​decades,​ ​the​ ​highest​ ​foreclosure​ ​rate​ ​in​ ​the​ ​state,​ ​boarded​ ​up​ ​main​ ​streets​ ​and​ ​decreasing home​ ​values.​ ​​ ​He​ ​stated​ ​his​ ​issues​ ​loud​ ​and​ ​clear​ ​that​ ​night.​ ​​ ​None​ ​of​ ​them​ ​had​ ​anything​ ​to​ ​do with​ ​bringing​ ​jobs​ ​back.​ ​​ ​In​ ​fact​ ​at​ ​one​ ​point​ ​he​ ​denied​ ​that​ ​there​ ​were​ ​actually​ ​any​ ​problems​ ​in our​ ​area​ ​at​ ​all. The​ ​truth​ ​is,​ ​Harold​ ​Wirths​ ​is​ ​out​ ​of​ ​touch​ ​with​ ​working​ ​people​ ​and​ ​will​ ​vote​ ​with​ ​the​ ​minority​ ​in Trenton​ ​just​ ​like​ ​incumbent​ ​Assemblyman​ ​Parker​ ​Space​ ​-​ ​who​ ​in​ ​the​ ​past​ ​year​ ​had​ ​a​ ​mere​ ​6% of​ ​his​ ​bills​ ​actually​ ​pass.​ ​​ ​His​ ​vote​ ​won’t​ ​matter,​ ​your​ ​voice​ ​won’t​ ​be​ ​heard​ ​and​ ​our​ ​area​ ​will continue​ ​to​ ​be​ ​a​ ​neglected​ ​part​ ​of​ ​the​ ​state.

We​ ​need​ ​issues-oriented​ ​leaders​ ​who​ ​are​ ​going​ ​to​ ​work​ ​with-​ ​not​ ​against​ ​-​ ​the​ ​majority​ ​in​ ​the legislature.​ ​​ ​​ ​We’ve​ ​got​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​work​ ​to​ ​do​ ​to​ ​improve​ ​our​ ​economy.​ ​​ ​Vote​ ​for​ ​leaders​ ​who​ ​care about​ ​your​ ​lives,​ ​and​ ​are​ ​ready​ ​to​ ​face​ ​the​ ​real​ ​issues​ ​head​ ​on.​ ​​ ​A​ ​vote​ ​for​ ​Gina​ ​and​ ​I​ ​is​ ​a​ ​vote for​ ​the​ ​people,​ ​by​ ​the​ ​people,​ ​no​ ​special​ ​interest​ ​money,​ ​no​ ​question​ ​as​ ​to​ ​why​ ​we​ ​are​ ​running for​ ​office.​ ​​ ​We​ ​want​ ​to​ ​see​ ​this​ ​area​ ​thrive,​ ​not​ ​for​ ​our​ ​own​ ​personal​ ​gain,​ ​but​ ​for​ ​your​ ​working family.

Kate​ ​Matteson, candidate​ ​for​ ​State​ ​Assembly

(Editor's note: Matteson and Gina Trish are the Democratic candidates for state Assembly from the 24th District. They are opposed by Republicans Harold Wirths and incumbent Assemblyman Parker Space.)