All Politics is Local

In the last Presidential election, I was recruited to use my election law background to help try to keep the election honest in Philadelphia. Even though I was a veteran of defending against Election Day fraud in places in New York, nothing prepared me for the blatant transgressions I saw in the City of Brotherly Love. 

The antics of the O’Connell-Corning machine in Albany, where I cut my teeth as an election lawyer in training, the scores of fraudulent ballots I successfully challenged as chair of the Republican Party in New Rochelle, the Brooklyn shenanigans I witnessed in the late 70’s, and the statewide impounding of suspect voting machines in New York, which I initiated, paled in comparison to what I saw four years ago. So when I was given the opportunity by the McCain-Palin campaign to play an Election Day role in the battle ground state of Pennsylvania this year, I thought long and hard. It would be a chance possibly to have a role (albeit a bit player) in an historical event.

In the final analysis though, it made more sense for me to remain home on Election Day, to be there – win or lose – for a man that has been there so often for so many people, Fred Camillo. I have known Fred for quite a few years. Fred coaxed me out of political retirement to get involved locally. Fred has gotten many people involved in civics – especially young people.

Here is what my son wrote to the local papers about Fred:

“Every campaign season, the values of voters become very clear. Almost no one agrees on every issue with either candidate, so candidates appeal to voters by selling themselves as trustworthy, genuine, patriotic, and the ally to the ‘little guy.’. People want elected officials they can relate to and can trust. As far as I am concerned, no candidate for any office fits this description as well as Fred Camillo, the Republican candidate for State Representative.

“The first time I met Fred, I was about 12, playing Bambino League Baseball in town; Fred was the umpire. After the game, my Dad introduced me to Fred and when I mentioned that I was interested in politics, Fred invited me to start coming with my Dad to the Republican Town Meeting. Though he was busy at these meetings, Fred never forgot I was there and would always take a moment to come say hi to me and answer any questions I had—he was never too busy for the little guy (me).

“In the years since meeting Fred, I’ve found that he hasn’t really changed much. He’s still a trusted family friend whom I admire greatly. It seems that Fred’s character has never changed; people that have been Fred’s friends since he was little say he’s always been the honest, hardworking, genuine guy he is now.

“When the Wiffle ball controversy erupted this past summer, Fred was working to keep the field standing before my family could even get him on the phone to ask what his opinion was (once again standing up for the little guy). Fred knows what he stands for, will say it, stand by it and act on it before most other politicians even formulate their ambiguous and equivocal responses to tough questions. Just like Fred always called a fair game as a town umpire, I am certain he will always do the right thing at his new job in Hartford if he is elected.”

Moreover, Fred is so much more than a “nice guy” and “guy who cares.” I have been impressed at Fred’s deep knowledge of the issues facing our state and town. Fred is knowledgeable and has creative solutions – all with the best interest of Greenwich at heart.

Here is what the Greenwich Post wrote in their Oct. 30, 2008 endorsement: “Mr. Camillo has proven himself a formidable opponent this election season…creative ideas that are also fiscally responsible. This is crucial during an economic downturn.”

And the Greenwich Citizen, too, endorsed Fred. Saying: “Fred is committed to putting partisan politics aside and working with the Democratic Majority in the General Assembly for the betterment of Greenwich.”

The Greenwich Time spoke highly of Fred in their non-endorsement saying he “has the ability, experience and commitment to represent the 151st in an exemplary manner.”

This is a bad year for Republicans. In my opinion, it will be a bad couple of years for Greenwich if we don’t send Fred Camillo to Hartford to represent our Greenwich.

My son, who is attending school in Virginia, was advised that he too could have more of an impact on the national election by re-registering in Virginia, another “swing state” and voting in the Presidential election there. He chose not to, because Greenwich is his true home, and is where his heart is. He concluded that it was more important to vote for Fred who will look out for the town’s best interests.

So, we will be there for Fred on Election Day — because in the end all politics is local.