By Allison Collins
SIDNEY – Assemblyman Clifford Crouch, R – Bainbridge, visited with roughly 20 Sidney Rotarians and local officials last Friday during the club’s regularly scheduled midday meeting.
Crouch, 73, is seeking re-election to his 13th term representing the 122nd District and, unlike in recent years, faced opponent Nicholas Libous, 36, of Binghamton, in Thursday’s primary. Libous’ May candidacy announcement followed Crouch’s, made in Afton this April.
Sidney Mayor Andy Matviak presented Crouch, whom he called a longtime friend, and praised the assemblyman’s contributions to the village.
Matviak noted that, because of redistricting throughout Crouch’s 23-year career in the Assembly, the village has fallen in and out of his political purview. Town of Sidney Supervisor Gene Pigford and Sidney Grant Administrator John Redente were also present.
“He’s always been there to help us,” Matviak said, “and he’s always there when you need him.”
The mayor added that Crouch proved “instrumental” in securing funding for Sidney Emergency Medical Squad’s new ambulance, relocating and reopening the New York State Division of Veterans’ Affairs Office and helping the village recover from flooding.
Crouch, who said his visit was nonpolitical, discussed New York State’s Paid Family Leave; increases to the state-mandated minimum wage; and recent insinuations made by his opponent that, in drawing his state-issued retirement check, he is “double dipping.”
Crouch called statewide paid family leave, implemented on Jan. 1, “one of those things that’s just making New York more and more difficult to sell.”