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Letter: Newsday wrong on Independence Party

A voter marks his ballot via cell phone

A voter marks his ballot via cell phone light at the generator powered First United Methodist Church in Oceanside, New York. (Nov. 6, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

Newsday needs to do its homework on the Independence Party. As the region's major news publication, it owes its readers an unbiased look at the minor parties and the positive role they play in state and local politics.

In response to Newsday's editorial, "Kick this party off the ballot" [March 7], I would like to state on behalf of our membership and hardworking Independence Party elected officials on Long Island and across the state, that Newsday has done a tremendous disservice to the public by portraying the party as corrupt and devoid of meaningful political activism. This is simply not the case.

There is absolutely no truth to the claim that I have used my influence in politics to gain favor with the judicial system. However, Newsday's editorial board has chosen to use this as justification to kick the Independence Party off the ballot.

The editorial board cites as further justification a 100-page report issued by the Moreland Commission on Corruption in which one page is devoted to the Independence Party. I dispute the accuracy of the commission's report and have written the commission a letter to that effect on behalf of the party.

Newsday asserts that investigators should look at my "clout with the judiciary, including involvement in the selection of supervisory judges and other plum assignments that bring jobs and fees." I have no involvement, nor have I ever been involved, in the selection of supervisory judges -- and the major political parties certainly wield considerably more clout in the state's political arena.

Despite Newsday's characterization, the Independence Party operates in a very open and forthright manner. I am very approachable and available. I host completely free, non-political, gatherings each month, which hundreds of people attend.

The Independence Party is a grassroots organization with a simple and straightforward platform. Our premise is that elected officials should be free to legislate and use common sense in governing, and shouldn't be tied to a highly partisan platform that fails to represent the entire electorate. Our elected officials should be able to speak honestly to the American people, unencumbered by the dictates of party bosses or constraining social issues. We are an organization that has championed the concept of local control for county leaders, empowering them with shaping their own legislative agenda and making candidate endorsements. While we don't take positions on social issues, we do in fact have a very comprehensive state legislative agenda.

Frank M. MacKay, Rocky Point

Editor's note: The writer is the chairman of the Independence Party of New York State and Suffolk County.