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Town of Brunswick lets Republicans use public venue for political event, barring opponents

Jun 22, 2022 1:21 pm

Chris Bragg reports for the Times Union that on May 31 the Brunswick Community Center, a taxpayer-supported venue, held an event for Rep. Elise Stefanik where certain taxpayers were not allowed to enter. Even though the public owns the venue, "people suspected of being political opponents" to Stefanik were not allowed to enter. Republican Phil Herrington, the town's supervisor, set up the event for the Republican Congressperson. Two years ago then-Congressman Antonio Delgado, a Democrat, was not allowed to use the same community center by a different Brunswick Republican elected official, Town Clerk Bill Lewis. "You're all the same party, you're using it politically, and I just have a problem with that," said Kathy Betzinger, the former chair of the Brunswick Democratic Party, at the town's June 9 meeting. "This is our community center. So we either have one set of rules, or it's over." Herrington acknowledged that the town bylaws likely prohibited use of the center for political events even though that is just what he did. "I didn’t check with the town attorney — because I know what his answer would have been, quickly," Herrington said. Rensselaer County GOP operative, Richard W. Crist at one point during the event ordered the doors to the venue locked to keep out those he deemed political opponents. Read more about thhis story in the Times Union.