That’s why we call them “Only in Troy” moments.
At first glance, I thought it was a raffle that would certainly raise more money for the Grace Baptist Church than an ice cream social or spaghetti dinner but there won’t be any tickets sold. Rather, names of people at the March 23 service will be put in a hat and the winner drawn at random.
Also, at first glance, I thought it was an AR-15 since that’s what’s on the flyer that was sent to people across the Capital District. But the gun donated by Brian Olsen, proprietor of the Oakwood Trading Post, is an MSR, or Modern Sporting Rifle. I don’t know the difference except the AR-15 is the controversial weapon ostracized after Sandy Hook and other high profile mass murders.
The pastor, John Koletas, told the Times Union he is just standing up for a person’s Second Amendment rights – which have also come under fire in part by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s NY SAFE Act. He is also no stranger to controversy, as mentioned in the Times Union as well.
One of the speakers on March 23 is Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin, who has been a vocal opponent of the SAFE Act and one of the loudest Republican critics of Cuomo in the state.
McLaughlin was toying with the idea of taking on Cuomo until reality set in – that there is no way an Assemblyman from Melrose could raise the kind of money needed and that few people know his name outside of Albany’s cocoon and his district.
Now that Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino has announced his intent to take on Cuomo in November, McLaughlin could be picked as lieutenant governor. Astornio needs a bomb thrower and McLaughlin has shown he is not afraid to throw some bombs at the governor. Plus, news outlets across the state seem to like the ex-airline pilot and routinely turn to him for the other side of the story or an anti-governor quote.
Whether or not he will be offered the number two slot or if he even takes it if offered is up in the air. While he does bring snappy anti-Cuomo rhetoric to the table an upstate Assemblyman is not a conduit to a bunch of cash. And, if it’s offered and he takes it, he has to give up his Assembly seat.
If he doesn’t go for lieutenant governor or it’s not offered, he is certainly positioning himself as one of the leaders in the state Republican Party.