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Gilbert pulls no punches


LYONS FALLS — Abolish the Internal Revenue Service, frack away and kill Common Core: those were among the messages delivered to the Old North Church Patriots as the group hosted Republican congressional candidate Joseph M. Gilbert on Thursday night.

The group, whose primary goal “is education of the public about our Constitution and the abuses it has suffered, and to inform residents about important issues on all levels of government,” according to the group correspondence, invited Mr. Gilbert, of DeKalb Junction, to learn about his platform. The group previously hosted candidate Elise M. Stefanik and plans to invite candidate Matthew A. Doheny.

Approximately 15 people attended for nearly two hours of discussion and questions.

At the top of his list was the Department of Education, which he would like to abolish, returning power to the states.

“Jimmy Carter started that in 1978,” he said, adding that he believes achievement has since gone down.

Asked specifically about Common Core, he said: “Kill it, beat it with a bat, tie it up and throw it in the river.”

He did not shy away from questions about fracking, either.

“Go. Frack until you can frack no more,” he said.

Duties of the Environmental Protection Agency could be handled at the state level, he said.

Mr. Gilbert said he would also like to abolish the Internal Revenue Service and replace it with a fairer flat tax.

He also had a strong opinion about an overhaul to immigration policy — “I call that the Democratic Importation Act,” he said, going on to mention high unemployment.

“A surplus of labor while raising minimum wage does not make economic sense,” he said.

He believes a higher minimum wage will only hurt small-business owners. He also has ideas about job creation.

“I get asked how will I bring jobs to the district. The short answer is to make government smaller,” he said. “We rely on government to solve our problems. If you want jobs, the answer isn’t your elected official unless that official is going to go to Washington and get government out of the way.”

He told of a time he wanted to start a small home health-care business, but state regulations would have prevented his start-up for years. He was advised to move to Vermont or Canada.

That type of exodus of businesses and loss of population, he said, cost the state two House of Representatives seats.

Mr. Gilbert explained how he returned to the north country after 26 years of military service.

“The north country I left is not the north country I came back to. I want it back,” he said.

Mr. Gilbert said his experience as St. Lawrence County emergency services director has helped shape the manner in which he will accomplish goals in Washington.

He said he consistently works with bipartisan leadership in the county. “We have 10 Democrats and five Republicans,” he said. “I know how to reach across the aisle, but not waiver on my convictions.”

He reported $220,000 in reductions to his budget without cutting any services.

At the same time, he said, he was able to obtain new equipment and start three different citizens alert systems.

“You can do both. I’ll do the same in Washington,” he said.

Mr. Gilbert is a native of Ogdensburg who lives in DeKalb Junction. He and his wife, Laurie, have two children: Mackenzie, 5, and Ethan, 3. Mr. Gilbert also has two adult children from a previous marriage, Cameron, who is serving in the Air Force in the United Kingdom, and Nicholas, who is in the Army and based at Fort Hood, Texas.

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