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The Chemung County Sheriff Primary Race 2013

Posted by Chris , 02 August 2013 · 1,110 views

It isn't often that local politics get as contentious as this.

This year Chemung County Sheriff Christopher Moss faces a challenger for the Republican nomination, Arthur Laurey of Horseheads, and supporters for both camps are more passionate than any race we have seen in the Twin Tiers for some time. Allegations have been made about both candidates, which in the spirit of civility will not be repeated here, but there are some troubling things coming out of the challenger's camp. We'll get to those in a moment, first let's take a look at the candidates.

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Christopher J Moss is a 24 year veteran of the department and a graduate of the FBI National Academy who, after being on road patrol was assigned to the Criminal Investigation Division, earning the rank of Sergeant and in 2005 was promoted to Division Commander. In 2005 he was elected to serve a 4 year term as Sheriff, replacing Sheriff Charles Houper and was re-elected again in 2009. During his time on the department prior to becoming Sheriff he received numerous awards.

Since becoming Sheriff he has instituted many beneficial programs for the county, including Operation R.A.M. ( Rid Area of Methamphetamine ), instituted an Active Shooter Training program for local businesses, Operation Safe Child, as well as having deputies with special training offering programs to the public such as hunter safety, boater safety, and more.

The most recent achievement by Sheriff Moss has been his staunch support gun owners in Chemung County, attending meetings with Governor Cuomo to speak out against Cuomo's SAFE Act, as well as providing several public forums to inform the public what the SAFE Act meant for them. He has also instituted policy doing away with the antiquated two tiered system of pistol permits for handgun owners and established regular classes for pistol permit holders who wish change their permit to "concealed carry". Truth is, Chemung County was at one time notorious for being one of the most difficult counties in New York for handgun owners to deal with, and Moss has radically changed the Pistol Permit Division to make it a more streamlined and public friendly process, ending the days of arbitrary policies.

Road patrols have increased in the rural areas of Chemung County, something that has been sorely needed for years

Personally I have found Moss easy to communicate with going as far back as when I was a paramedic and we would on occasion be on a scene in our own capacity. Since that time any questions I have had have been answered promptly, bolstering the proof of his "open door" policy to both the public and employees.

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His challenger, Arthur Laurey has been employed as a corrections officer by Chemung County for 26 years. He was honorably discharged from the United States Marine Corps.

And that's all we really know.

This is because for some reason Mr. Laurey, despite having been invited to several events, declines to attend question and answer sessions with voters or debates with Sheriff Moss. More troubling, he or someone from his campaign has regularly deleted questions from voters on his campaign Facebook page as well blocked them from the site and his campaign e mail account.

I know this because I am one of those voters.

Again, I won't go into the questions or allegations for either candidate. As a citizen and a voter I find it troubling when someone wants my vote, wants what is essentially a promotion and raise in rank to the highest rank in their department without answering some questions, even if they are tough ones. Especially the tough ones, as being the Sheriff is a tough job, one requiring transparency and a good rapport with the general public.

I have asked people who know Laurey including co-workers to tell me a little more about the candidate, and I have been told, "He's a good guy, but Moss will do a better job. "

I have no doubt Laurey is a nice guy, but as a voter I need more than a nice guy to give them my vote. I want to know what qualifies a candidate to manage a 12 million dollar budget. I want to know how a potential budget shortage at the county level will affect the Sheriff's Dept., and what the head of that department plans to do about it. I want to know what the candidates will do in support of gun rights for county residents. I want to know that the man behind that badge embodies the strength of character and integrity it stands for. I want to know how they will continue to fight crime in our region, even with a tighter budget. I want to know that I will be able to ask questions when I have them or need clarification about something I may have heard.

I'm not getting those answers from one candidate.

A couple years ago I made a promise to myself to hold politicians to a certain standard, and if given the opportunity to, hold their feet to the fire. Gone are the days when a handshake and smile were enough to get my vote. I expect more, I want answers to tough questions. I want the ability to ask those questions after Election Day, be it a week or a year. I want politicians to remember that they work for us, not the other way around, and while I may not be able to change things on a national level, I sure can start right here at home.

So that is why I offer my endorsement for and will vote for Sheriff Chris Moss to another four year term. He has proven his track record over the years and has provided results for the people of Chemung County.

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Gordon Cooper
Aug 02 2013 11:00 AM

Chris,

 Thank you for this column and the information. I have wondered about the challenger and although I had planned on giving my support to Moss, Now, thanks to you, I have more confidence in adding my vote to his place on the ballot.

 This is just further proof of the value and need of this website - as if you need to hear it again - Thanks!

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Chris,

I would also like to thank you for this column.  I was already supporting Moss due to his resume and especially his response to the UnSafe Act.  I have heard allegations as well, but without facts to back them up.  I also hear that Art is a very nice man, but even going over his website and FB page there is no real info.  As you stated we as voters need more than a smile and nice personality to go on. 

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Thanks for the comment Matt. We as voters and citizens have to start holding politicians' feet to the fire and expecting more of them. Starting at the local level is the best way to begin doing so.
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Agreed !

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