Press Release as Submitted to the Troy Record
The Rensselaer County Libertarian Party wishes to address the photo circulating of our endorsed candidate, Rodney Wiltshire, with a number of individuals who were later arrested by the Troy Police in a raid.
To begin with, Politicians will often take pictures with quite a few individuals, irrespective of their background. Very rarely do candidates get to vet the people they take pictures with. This is a very minor point, but one that should be taken into account.
The Libertarian Party is actually proud of this picture of Rodney, however. Troy has myriad problems, crime absolutely being one of them. The challenges of combatting crime are as complicated as any in our society. We also believe firmly that no individual is beyond redemption or change. The moment we ignore whole classes or races of people out of fear of ourselves being associated with “Unsavory Individuals” is the moment we become monsters ourselves.
Unfortunately, too often people have felt that their only option towards advancement has been through illicit means. Excessive Occupational Licensing has made it difficult for people to find profitable skilled jobs without first going through expensive training. Expensive Housing and the welfare state has trapped many in cycles of generational poverty.
We also believe that the Drug War has unfortunately also disproportionately affected poor, Black and Brown individuals. While wealthy individuals are setting up State Sanctioned Marijuana Dispensaries in Colorado, California, and Massachusetts (among other States), many individuals who distributed Marijuana have faced years of incarceration. This seems very much like a double standard.
Rodney’s engagement with Poor and Minority communities in Troy is exactly where he needs to be. We applaud his efforts to encourage opportunity and for young people to look for opportunities away from the illicit drug trade. Rodney has worked training students at Hudson Valley Community College for Solar instillation jobs and has kept his business, Empire Solar, within the City of Troy.
Far from ashamed of Rodney we are proud of him reaching out to the young people in the City of Troy and hope he continues to do so. We hope to work with Churches, non-profits, and other organizations who seek to find a peaceful solution to bringing the youth of Troy away from the lure of crime and towards participation in a Civil Society.
Philip J. Vecchio, Jr.
Chairman of the Rensselaer County Libertarian Party