Interview with Sam Pratt, new Germantown Resident
This article is from Enid Futterman’s blog. I’m sorry it wasn’t me that set up an interview with him nw that he is a local resident, but this article gives you an insight into his political interests. Another resource that needs to be tapped!
Kay Abraham 537-5404
[Sam Pratt told] Michael Singer and a roomful of Columbia County citizens at Spencertown Academy last Saturday, [10/06/13] how he sees the political landscape.
He sees it, well … unsparingly. He sees political change lagging behind social change. The county may have become more progressive, as more and more New Yorkers migrate or weekend here, and as the whole country becomes more liberal, but Columbia County remains tethered to its Republican roots of power and patronage. Meaning that, in spite of the fact that Democratic voter registration now exceeds Republican voter registration, Republicans still control the county, by virtue of controlling the jobs—contractors, lawyers, sheriffs. Which is why they always get out the vote.
They don’t want to lose their oversize pieces of the $350 million dollar pie, which makes them “permanently motivated” to vote. (Pratt estimates that the county controls roughly that much in county, town and school budgets.)
Democrats, on the other hand, get out to vote in significant elections—President, US Senator, Governor. Or when the issue literally hits home. A power line. A cement plant. A toxic fire. The Republicans don’t pay much attention to issues; the jobs are the issues.
This is not news to many who have tried to shift the balance of power for years, and although it’s difficult to prove, there is a weekly not-so-secret meeting at a barn in Claverack, at which the county kabal reportedly plots an agenda for the week to come. Still, it was revelatory and clarifying to hear it synthesized so well.
In contrast, the Democrats, according to Pratt, have a “bake sale mentality,” and never manage to raise serious money. Maybe, he speculated, that is because Democrats spend too much time trying to get people who are less progressive to like them (really like them, not just on imby or Facebook).
“I don’t buy that you win by moving to the middle,” said the famously intransigent but historically highly effective Pratt. He [and Peter Jung] not only led the successful six-year fight against the supposedly done deal of the St. Lawrence Cement plant; he organized Hudson one local election year, ran 38 Democratic candidates, of whom 33 won seats.
So we were saved from cement dust and coal burning furnaces, but now we’re told there might be arsenic in the groundwater. Casually mentioned before he started asking the questions, Singer said that the bodies of soldiers who died in wars circa 1860 to 1920, were treated with arsenic to preserve them until they could be buried at home, and though the bodies and the coffins have long disintegrated, the arsenic is still in the ground, and possibly in the groundwater.
By Enid Futterman