Po­lit­i­cal new­comer chal­lenges se­na­tor

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Wil­liam J. Kem­ble news@free­manon­line.com

State Sen. John Bonacic is be­ing chal­lenged in his bid for a 10th two-year term by po­lit­i­cal new­comer Pramilla Mal­ick.

Bonacic, 232 Tally Ho Road, Mount Hope, will be on the Repub­li­can, Con­ser­va­tive, In­de­pen­dence and Re­form Party lines on the Nov. 8 bal­lot in the 42nd Se­nate Dis­trict. Mal­ick, of 264 Ja­cobs Road, West­town, will be on the Demo­cratic line.

The 42nd Se­nate Dis­trict in­cludes parts of Ul­ster, Delaware, Sul­li­van and Or­ange coun­ties. The Ul­ster County towns in the dis­trict are Den­ning, Gar­diner, New Paltz, Rosendale, Shawan­gunk and Wawars­ing.

John Bonacic

Bonacic, 74, first was elected to the state Se­nate in Novem­ber 1998. He was in the state Assem­bly from 1990 to 1998 and was an Or­ange County leg­is­la­tor from 1972 to 1989.

He has lived in the dis­trict since 1968, and he and his wife, Pa­tri­cia, have two adult chil­dren.

Bonacic grad­u­ated from St. Joseph’s High School in West New York, N.J., in 1960; earned a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in Eco­nom­ics from Iona Col­lege in New Rochelle in 1964; and re­ceived a law de­gree from Ford­ham Law School in Man­hat­tan in 1968.

He is a mem­ber of the Mid­dle­town Elks Club.

Bonacic said state law­mak­ers need to be sub­ject to the same spend­ing lim­its that have been im­posed on school districts and mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

“We’re still try­ing to get a 2 per­cent statu­tory spend­ing cap on state spend­ing,” he said. “Since [Gov. An­drew] Cuomo’s been in, we’ve been un­der, but it’s not statu­tory.”

Bonacic also would like to have “a broader based tax to fi­nance ed­u­ca­tion,” he said.

“I have floated a state in­come tax to pay for ed­u­ca­tion and not con­stantly rely on school prop­erty taxes,” he said. “That’s still a quest by me.”

The in­creased num­ber of tax-ex­empt prop­er­ties is an­other con­cern for Bonacic.

“We have peo­ple who ap­ply for a min­is­ter’s li­cense and they go buy [300 acres], and they say, ‘This is my church,’” he said. “All ... 300 acres [are] now tax-ex­empt. It doesn’t have to be paid to the mu­nic­i­pal­ity or the school dis­trict, so the bur­den to the rest of the tax­pay­ers in that par­tic­u­lar lo­ca­tion goes up.”

Re­fer­ring to the re­cent con­vic­tions of state Assem­bly Speaker Shel­don Sil­ver and Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Dean Ske­los, Bonacic also said he is up­set that a “few bad ap­ples have tainted us all.”

“I was the first mem­ber of the Repub­li­can con­fer­ence to ask [former Ma­jor­ity Leader Joseph] Bruno and Ske­los to step aside once there was a fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” he said. “I sup­ported the re­vo­ca­tion of pen­sion ben­e­fits of an elected of­fi­cial con­victed of a felony with re­spect to his pub­lic office.”

Pramilla Mal­ick

Mal­ick, 52, is a com­mu­nity or­ga­nizer for en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues. She has lived in the dis­trict for 15 years and with hus­band, Ibrahim, and has four adult chil­dren.

Mal­ick grad­u­ated from Scran­ton (Pa.) Prepara­tory High School in 1982 and earned a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in bi­ol­ogy from the Univer­sity of Scran­ton in 1985.

She is a mem­ber of the groups Stop the Min­isink Com­pres­sor Sta­tion and Pro­tect Or­ange County.

“Cor­rup­tion is the big­gest is­sue fac­ing our dis­trict,” she said, cit­ing “payto-play pol­i­tics and the tremen­dous un­due in­flu­ence of big-money spe­cial in­ter­ests.”

Mal­ick said state law­mak­ers need to pass a com­pre­hen­sive ethics and cam­paign fi­nance re­forms.

“I have taken the ‘De­mand Democ­racy’ pledge to work to­ward that,” she said. “I will not stop fight­ing un­til we get it be­cause we need it. We need it for our democ­racy and we need it for our very sur­vival.”

Mal­ick con­tends spe­cial in­ter­ests have got­ten in the way of adopt­ing ef­fec­tive leg­is­la­tion to pro­tect res­i­dents.

“The rea­son why we have pub­lic pol­icy, en­ergy pol­icy, cli­mate change pol­icy, that have deemed en­tire com­mu­ni­ties ex­pend­able, is be­cause of our con­flicts of in­ter­est and our prob­lems with eth­i­cal lead­er­ship,” she said.

“I am also a big sup­porter of landown­ers’ rights, and I’m op­posed to em­i­nent do­main for pri­vate gain,” Mal­ick added. “So far, our state elected of­fi­cials have looked the other way when faced with com­mu­ni­ties whose prop­erty is be­ing seized left and right by pri­vate, for-profit com­pa­nies ... and I be­lieve it’s un­con­sti­tu­tional to seize pri­vate prop­erty for pri­vate prof­its.”

Mal­ick said leg­is­la­tion she sup­ports in­cludes the New York Health Act, the Safe Staffing and Qual­ity Care Act and the Child Vic­tims Act.

State Sen. John Bonacic, left, is be­ing chal­lenged in the Nov. 8 elec­tion by Pramilla Mal­ick

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