EDITORIAL: Gunther Keeps Saying She's 'Happy'
It's now been about eight hours since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade. And, still, not a word about it from Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther.
When the Supreme Court also voted to overturn New York's concealed carry law yesterday, Gunther was similarly silent.
But remember: Gunther keeps saying she is "happy." She's "happy" to do photo opportunities and post them to her Facebook page with various groups around and beyond the district - but rarely does the public ever hear what she says on the critical issues of the day.
Many women (and men) in New York State are especially unhappy today after the Roe v Wade decision. As of this writing, there was a protest planned for the Sullivan County courthouse at 5 pm in Monticello, in part, to urge the state to fight to protect women's right to choose.
Gunther has a majority voice in Albany and may have even attended the march to support others, including many Democrats.
But, she did nothing to announce her participation some 90 minutes after the event began.
And while she posed for a photo with Governor Kathy Hochul in Westchester yesterday, New York Attorney General Letitia James was holding an important virtual hearing on the lack of access to mental healthcare services throughout the state. We don't know if Gunther participated but she, again, was silent about the state of mental health in 2022.
Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther in Tarrytown, NY on Thursday with Governor Kathy Hochul to celebrate the expansion of Regeneration Pharmaceuticals' expansion in Westchester. The same day, New York Attorney General Letitia James was holding an important virtual hearing on the lack of access to mental healthcare services across the State. Gunther is chair of the Assembly Mental Health Committee. (Photo from "Friends of Aileen Gunther" Facebook page).
Why is that surprising? Well, Gunther just happens to be the chair of the Assembly's Mental Health Committee and has been for years.
We're glad Gunther is "happy" with all her photo opps. But constituents and the local media need to ask her questions that reveal whether she is truly in touch with the issues of her own committee as well as other timely issues - like access to abortion and guns - that are important to all regardless of politics and political affiliation.
Gunther has sometimes made her voice known this past year, like joining nurses recently to protest the closing of the coronary care unit at Garnet Harris. That should be commended.
But it's been the exception instead of the rule.
As for the hearings held yesterday by AG James, we have asked for a list of those who spoke to learn if Gunther made an appearance or submitted testimony.
Gunther made no mention of the hearing on mental health access in any of her pubic posts yesterday. And while Republicans and Dems everywhere are talking about mental health when it comes to deciding about access to guns, Gunther yesterday and today was also missing in action.
At least from here, that's very disappointing.
Finally, the last news release that Gunther has posted to her official Assembly website page was November 30, 2020. That's especially shameful since COVID alone impacted so many New York residents' mental health in 2021 and beyond.