By EMILY DREW
For the Express
The National Federation of Republican Women made a stop at the Riverfront Center last Wednesday as part of its campaign to register more women to vote.
New York was the 24th state NFRW’s president Carrie Almond and her fellow Republican women visited during the organization’s 2016 “Destination: White House” tour in attempt to get any unregistered female voters to polls this November and advocate for Republican candidates. The organization has been touring the country since May 9 in “Rosie,” their red, white and blue bus, named after Almond’s grandmother.
The NFRW stopped at the Riverfront Center Wednesday afternoon and were joined by local elected officials, candidates and representatives for local Republican women groups.
Almond said the idea for the national tour came to her when she found out millions of women across the United States were not registered to vote.
“When I found out that there were 23 million unregistered females out there, I thought, goodness sake, I know just the organization to tackle that project,” Almond said.
She cited the NFRW’s 2014 campaign that focused on 14 senate races across the country where volunteers put in 42 million campaign hours.
“I thought, if we just double those campaign hours and really get out and focus all the good work that the National Federation of Republican Women ladies do in their cities, in their counties, in their states, we could really make a dent in this voter registration,” Almond said.
She said she told the NFRW board of directors that she was not comfortable advocating for voter registration while behind her desk in Alexandria, Va., and felt she had to get on the campaign trail.
Local officials commended the NFRW for the campaign.
Peter Vroman, the Republican candidate for the 111th Assembly District, a seat currently held by Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam, said the campaign is bringing attention to the local elections in addition to the presidential.
“It’s not just the presidential election, but these local and state offices, like the one I’m running for, that are extremely important,” Vroman said. “People are waking up and realizing these positions, these state and local positions, are very important because they shelter us from big governments.”
Vroman, of Canajoharie, is a former U.S. Marshal and retired from Montgomery County undersheriff position in 2014. He said the reason he is running for assembly is because as a former Marshal, he saw firsthand the “bad path” the country is going down and cited the 9/11 attacks, Boston bombings and Los Angeles riots.
“That caused me… to step forward, put myself out there, bring my problem solving abilities toward the need for ethics reformed, for term limits and fiscal responsibility in the state and hopefully I can do that this year,” Vroman said.
Francis “Joe” Vitollo, the Republican candidate for the 20th Congressional District, a seat held by U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, said more officials need to advocate for people who cannot do so themselves, such as seniors, the disabled and veterans.
The Coeymans resident, who has not held a public office before, said as a registered nurse, he has seen the effect of rising costs of health care and co-payments for medication.
“I see seniors come in and they’re afraid of what they’re going to pay when they leave the hospital, if they’re going to afford their mortgage, their rent,” Vitollo said, adding that government spending is high and veterans are not being cared for.
“If we don’t take care of those that made this country what is it, shame on us,” he said.
Assemblyman Marc Butler, R-Herkimer, said it is important to ensure Republican candidates “win from the top of the ballot to the bottom,” which is why it was important to encourage more people to vote. Butler is challenged in the 118th Assembly District by Patrick Vincent, who is also seeking the Republican nomination.
Butler spoke of his wife, who first started as an elementary school teacher before she decided to work toward a principal position. He said after she took necessary classes and training, she got a job quickly.
“She had a goal, she had a plan, she worked hard to achieve it. I think as Republicans, those are the kind of people we want to help … people who will take the risk,” Butler said.