Hi, I'm Cliff Olney and I want to be your next Watertown City Council member.
Over three campaigns, I’ve found it’s not easy to convince people to vote. They’re suspicious of our intent. But I believe people can learn to trust in government again. We can gain their trust back and help them prosper by taking a common sense approach to the rules that govern their lives.
I believe our government has the ability to do more for people than any one of us can do for ourselves alone. I see government as a cooperative which can be used to make people’s lives better. Better can happen when we implement smart policies.
Our job as representatives is to build trust and deliver on our promises.
We should ask ourselves, “Does what we do make people’s lives better? And not just people, but the most people, and the most people who need it?" And if the answer is no, then we need to find a different solution.
That should be the first test of all we do as local representatives.
We need to create a vision, effectively communicate that vision, and be able to explain how that vision will make our community and people’s lives better.
"I believe that a person is defined by
how they lift themselves up after a fall."
I was a Republican and voted for Republicans until 1987. That's when my daughter, Marissa, was born prematurely and my insurance company dropped me so they didn't have to pay the $280,000 hospital bill.
I went to my GOP Rep. Bob Nortz who told me that insurance companies had a right to drop patients with high doctor bills. I left the Republican Party and became a Democrat for 29 years.
But over the years, I've watched as the Democratic Party has refused to stand up for workers any more.
In 2016, I stopped supporting the establishment wing of the Democratic Party. I am now a Progressive who believes in lower property taxes and fewer regulations on people and small businesses. Imagine that.
I don't vote based on the "letter" that's attached to a candidate's name nowadays. I listen and decide on who to vote for based on their ideas and what's in my best interest.
Our insurance company dropped us and said it was cheaper to litigate the case than to pay the bill. I spent $10,000 fighting them. They said they would delay it and I ran out of money. I took the case to the hospital and explained that the insurance company and New York State had told me to file medical bankruptcy.
The hospital lawyers took the case all the way to the Supreme Court of NYS and won it on appeal- Olney vs. New York State.
I never saw a penny for what I'd spent on lawyers. Afterwards, my daughter was deemed to have a pre-existing condition. We had to pay for each visit (and there were many) to a doctor or hospital.
Right now, we have the best health care lobbyists can buy. Both political parties are responsible.
My daughter is fine now, healthy and graduated from Pratt University, a college for art.
Events change our lives. Now I fight for what's right and just. There's a better way than 'letter voting'. Vote for your interests. Be independent!
Problems in Both Parties
I'll raise my voice when I feel there's a need. I'll be 100% transparent. You won't have to wonder what the vote behind closed doors is because there won't be any more votes behind closed doors or secret land deals.
I think people are tired of mousy politicians who equivocate on issues that are important. I want someone that says what they mean and means what they say. I want a fighter.
No one has stepped up so I am. Small businesses can put their sandwich boards out on the sidewalk because I raised my voice. Everyone has a voice. You can use yours too. And while you’re at it, vote for your interests. Stop voting for a party. Vote for someone who believes what you want matters.
Now, I'm not saying to follow or think like me. What I am saying is, I'll go first and I’ll fight for the citizens in this city. It's time we had a voice in city government. I hope you’ll join me this year. It's going to be a raucous campaign because the city government hasn't been listening. I’ll have a microphone and I’m going to use it.
How about you? Are you ready to fight?
My Upstate NY Values
1. I am my brother's keeper
2. Money is not the measure of a person's worth or value. Judge others by their work ethic,
honesty and how they care for their family.
3. Your word is your bond. A person who breaks their word is a worthless person.
4. Do your own dirty work like mowing your grass. It keeps you humble.
5. Discretion and moderation in all things.
6. Citizenship is something to be proud of and to defend from all parties.
7. Respect is earned, not given or inherited.
8. A relationship with God is a private affair.
9. The land is our sustenance, so take care of it.
10. Making things is a worthwhile pursuit–cooking, canning or building your own shed.
11. Follow your heart and chase your dreams.