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Friday, 02 December 2016 12:26

New County GOP Chair Looks to “Keep Good Going”

By | News
SARATOGA COUNTY — The new Saratoga County GOP chair, Steve Bulger, says he has much to be thankful for this holiday season given the pretty big GOP wins in November as a result of the strong party leadership of his predecessors. “John Herrick [the former GOP county chair] had big shoes to fill when Jasper Nolan stepped down after 27 years. Nolan really helped build the Republican party into the strong committee it is now, and John kept the committee strong,” said Bulger. “He actually grew the number of GOP elected officials, especially women. He helped elect Judge Ann Crowell to the Supreme Court, and Senator Kathy Marchione, which was really important to broaden our base of our party by helping attract more women. John did a great job with that and I’m grateful for it. He also increased the number of county supervisors who are Republican. We’re in a strong position thanks to his leadership.” Bulger was about 38 years old when he was invited to join the Clifton Park Republican Committee in 1997, starting out licking envelopes and putting out signs. He liked volunteering for the GOP and became more involved over a span of about 20 years. His background is in business. With a bachelor’s degree in government and law, Bulger went into the business world for 30 years, primarily in the medical device industry. The experience left an indelible imprint on him after spending quite a bit of time in operating rooms as a technical resource for nurses and surgeons while the devices were being inserted. “A planned knee replacement or other surgery is one thing,” he said, “but emergency surgery was quite another. How quickly someone’s life can change for the worse because of an accident. Seeing that, I have an appreciation of good health. If you have never needed surgery, it’s a total blessing, because so many lives are impacted – not only for the victim, but their families.” After that, in 2011, Bulger went to work for Congressman Chris Gibson, serving as his district director for the six years he has been in office. Now, Bulger said the timing was right for him to seek a new role serving the party. “I couldn’t do this if I was going to be working with Congressman Gibson,” said Bulger, “but once he decided not to run for congress or governor, that freed up my commitments. When Chairman Herrick announced in July he was going to step down, I thought it might be a good opportunity for me to see if the committee would be interested in having me be their chairman.” After several candidate interviews among local committees across the county, the full committee vote was held on Sept. 19 and Bulger was chosen as the new County GOP chair. “My number one goal is simple,” said Bulger, “and is just three words: keep good going. We are in a strong position and I’m blessed to move into a leadership role with such a strong committee in this county. We’ll continue the policies, maybe upgrade some of our technology and social media strategy, improving platforms to communicate with supporters and potential voters.” Bulger acknowledged the GOP did well this year. “We now have Senator-elect Tedisco, and Mary Beth Walsh is taking his former Assembly seat,” he said. “Marchione won again – she is strong and respected in our county. Republicans won local races, too, and I credit the committee and the candidates as well as John Herrick for a great job. The voters rewarded them by electing them to those positions because of a lot of the work they had done previously.” With the big national wins of both houses and the Presidency, Bulger would like the Republicans to focus on the economy, which he says will be good for both the country and the county. “What most Americans want is a strong economy, fair trade deals that will help our economy, and an equitable tax system,” said Bulger. “I don’t care for the side show stuff, such as should Hillary [Clinton] be prosecuted. I hope they will focus on what people want – getting the economy moving. This is a guy who built a large business empire [President-elect Donald Trump], and you don’t do that by yourself. He’s shown he can build a successful team, so whoever he decides is the best person for a particular role, I don’t care about their background or their party, if the President-elect chooses them, I’ll trust his choice.” Bulger sees his role as a support to GOP elected officials in “whatever decisions they are making that they believe are in the best interest of the public. It’s not my job to tell them how to vote.” The Saratoga County GOP committee has approximately 350 members who, as a group, will make their positions known to the elected officials. Part of Bulger’s role will be to help make sure that those in office are responsive to constituents and represent them in an honorable manner and help them get re-elected, as well as recruit new candidates who have integrity and good character. He said one thing he learned well under Gibson is that, after the election, it is important to listen to all constituents, that elected officials represent everyone, not just members of their party. “It’s sometimes a challenge to find good candidates,” said Bulger. “It’s a lot of work for little to no pay and you’re always on the clock. Someone can walk up to you in the grocery store saying they want you to do something. Finding people who want to step up and make that commitment of time, well, our county has been fortunate – and our country – that there are people who want to serve in this way. They are doing it to help their community, they believe in it.” Bulger acknowledged that the Internet has a lot to do with people’s hesitancy to run for office because there are so many more platforms to criticize people. “Especially in a small town where they just want to serve, and they think they can do a good job on the town board,” said Bulger, “they find themselves opened up to all this potential criticism, which can turn people off if they are not ready for it. So to make sure we have candidates who are prepared, we have training for them.” The candidate training will include managing social media, understanding election campaign finance laws, ethics laws, and how to deal with constituent groups. “The New York State Republican Committee asked Congressman Gibson to put together a candidate academy,” said Bulger, “a full day session to help train potential candidates and even existing elected officials. We did six of those across the state. We are going to be bringing that model here to Saratoga County to help prepare our candidates to face an election cycle.” Bulger says it is an honor for him to take on this new role. “I can continue my service to my community and the county that I was doing with Congressman Gibson,” said Bulger. The Saratoga County Republican Committee leadership team includes Vice Chairman Roger Schiera, Treasurer Cory Custer, and Secretary JoAnn Kupferman, as well as Women’s Republican Club President Dianne Freestone and an active Young Republicans Club. For more information, Bulger can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit SaratogaGOP.com.
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