DA candidate clarifies platform

After reading Bob Willison’s July 12 letter to the editor in response to my political ad, I felt obligated to clarify my position. Greene County needs at least one Republican elected official in the courthouse for several reasons. The courthouse is run by elected officials. The district attorney, judges, row officers, sheriff, clerk of courts, prothonotary and recorder of deeds are elected positions, none of whom are Republicans. Our elected officials represent who we are as a community, and their values and beliefs impact the decisions they make. If political affiliation was irrelevant to elected offices, there would be no need for political parties. The United States government was created with a structure of checks and balances which we apply to state and local government. These checks and balances should also be applied to the courtroom and the decisions and policies of the judges and district attorney.

In regard to Pennsylvania’s “Castle Doctrine,” the district attorney has to look at each individual case and determine if the facts and circumstances fit within Pennsylvania “Castle Doctrine.” The district attorney always has discretion on whether to file charges or not. If charges are filed the homeowner is forced to use the “Castle Doctrine” as a defense at trial. Therefore, it is important for the voters to know I am a district attorney candidate who supports the “Castle Doctrine” and the protections and presumptions afforded by it.

You also take issue with sending repeat drug offenders to prison and not rehab. Our community is in the midst of a drug crisis, with opiates and methamphetamines being our biggest problem. The question becomes how many methadone and suboxone clinics does our community need? Drug offenders who have been thrown out of clinics in other counties for continuing to use drugs seek new clinics for admission. Many of them use the system to maintain a lifestyle of drug use, not to rehabilitate themselves. How much compassion should a district attorney show repeat offenders before taking into consideration all of the individuals and families with children in our community who do not use drugs but are being impacted by the increase in drugs, crime and drug addicts in our county? Compassion for these individuals may be necessary for their recovery but should not be infinite and at the expense of everyone else in our community. The families and children in our community deserve compassion and consideration as well.

Dave Russo