Barnhart Response to Anonymous Letter

If you live in the 21st Legislative District, you might have received a letter about me in the mail. The source did not include a last name or return address.

It’s hard to know what to do when things like this happen. Do you respond to set the record straight and risk drawing even more attention? Or do you ignore it and hope that people will recognize a dirty trick?

I decided it’s better to respond directly, because I want you to hear the truth, so you understand the forces working against you and me.

I have been advocating to do three things:

There are powerful people within our party who are taking advantage of the disruption caused by the COVID-19 crisis to grab even more power. They want to:

  • Appoint a BOE Commissioner of their choosing, behind closed doors, with no input from party committee members.
  • Join the Republicans to create unnecessary, highly-paid new positions at the BOE that they can distribute as patronage to friends and supporters.
  • Scare Democrats into believing these steps are necessary to prevent a Republican “takeover” of the BOE.

They don’t like that I’m opposing their efforts and insisting on a transparent process that preserves the role of the Monroe County Democratic Committee members in choosing the BOE Commissioner. They don’t like that I’m prioritizing county workers’ jobs over creating new positions for their friends. And they really don’t like that I’m keeping you informed about what’s going on within your local Democratic party. But this is your party–I believe it should stay that way.

I am so sad that Democrats cannot agree on the best course of action regarding the state of the BOE. But I was elected to do exactly what I’m doing. I am horrified that my advocacy has resulted in a smear campaign. I am so sorry if you received that letter, which is a total fabrication. 

I am always here to talk and answer questions. It is an honor to serve you and our legislative district.