LONSBERRY: It's Time To Support Dr. Jim Maxwell

Dr. Jim Maxwell has been the lead dog every day of his professional life.

When you stand above a patient in the operating room, you are in command and control. A staff is at your disposal, a life is in your hands, the decisions – and their consequences – are yours.

That’s where he’s been for 40 years.

Saving lives, fighting cancer, repairing injury. Standing up against disease and defect, bullet wound and brain tumor, white and black, old and young, rich and poor.

Life and death, in his hands.

Fighting for others, day in and day out.

Dr. Jim Maxwell is a brain surgeon.

But Joe Morelle is not a rocket scientist.

Joe Morelle has never been the lead dog. He’s always run in another man’s wake, following another man’s lead, depending on other men for his advancement and direction.

And sometimes those other men have been of suspect character.

That’s why there are so many pictures of him with his mentor and patron, Sheldon Silver. It wasn’t happenstance that Joe Morelle rose to be Sheldon Silver’s chief flunky. It was because Sheldon Silver saw something in him, found something useful in him, identified with something about him, felt he was a kindred spirit.

When a corrupt and tyrannical Sheldon Silver needed someone he could rely on, he picked Joe Morelle.

And now Joe Morelle wants you to pick him.

To take the worst of Albany politics to Washington.

When you are in a cesspool for 30 years, you tend to stink. And the stench of Joe Morelle is the scent of Albany politics as usual – the politics that kept mixed martial arts out of New York for so long, and routinely put the interests of party bosses above the needs of the people.

Joe Morelle is a known quantity.

And Dr. Jim Maxwell is outperforming him.

Joe Morelle has an enrollment advantage of 50 percent, but a lead of just 25 percent. The district he wants to represent was designed to favor a Democrat incumbent – the late Louise Slaughter. It has something like 180,000 Democrats, and only 120,000 Republicans.

Joe Morelle should be wiping the floor with Dr. Jim Maxwell.

But a Channel 10 poll shows them at 48 to 39 with about 12 percent undecided. That’s a Morelle lead, but it’s a piss poor lead for a man with 30 years of name recognition who’s up against a political rookie nobody had heard of before the Fourth of July.

It’s a Morelle lead, but it’s a closable gap.

And Republicans and independents will decide which way it goes.

Some Republicans have been slow to embrace Dr. Jim Maxwell because they don’t find him conservative enough. Perhaps they think Joe Morelle is more conservative. Or perhaps they think that, in a district with many Americans with many opinions, their opinion must prevail on every point.

Yes, Dr. Jim Maxwell wants to fight global warming, but, no, he doesn’t want to take away our guns. Yes, he will be a vote for moderation and the middle, but, no, he won’t be a vote for Pelosi and the progressives.

Yes, he criticizes Donald Trump when he thinks the president gets off track, but, no, he is not a vote for impeachment, and he is not afraid to stand up and defend Trump when he believes the president and his policies have worked.

Dr. Jim Maxwell knew that standing in the operating room there was just one priority – the patient on the table. And in the halls of Congress he will have just one priority – the county he represents.

He’s not going down there to wave the Republican flag, or to take down the Democrat flag, he’s going there to do what he’s always done – serve. Everybody. The people who vote for him and the people who vote against him.

And the people who are, living in a city with one of the highest rates of child poverty in the nation, too young to vote either way.

Joe Morelle has been in office for 30 years, the worst 30 years in the history of Monroe County. On his watch, the industries left, the standard of living fell, the crime rose, your relatives moved away, and the city turned into a trap for its young, with horrific poverty and arguably the worst school district in the nation.

That’s what you’ve gotten with Joe Morelle.

It’s time to get a second opinion.

It’s time to call in Dr. Jim Maxwell.

This district deserves a leader, not a follower. A future, not a fall. A moderate, not a partisan. A uniter, not a divider.

It’s time to close the gap.

It’s time to support Dr. Jim Maxwell.

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