The Buffalo News reported on Saturday that State Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer fired an office employee and mother of four at the behest of Chris Collins, a Republican candidate for the NY-27 Congressional seat. According to the Buffalo News report, Michelle McCulloch of Attica said her employment at Ranzenhofer's office was terminated because of her support of Collins' primary opponent, David Bellavia.
McCulloch, a mother of four, is a member of the Wyoming County Republican Committee which has officially endorsed Mr. Bellavia in the ongoing primary. The incident that reportedly got her fired was nothing more than a meet and greet in Wyoming County (also attended by Collins) where she introduced David Bellavia around the crowd.
Ms. McCulloch is also a member of Bellavia's campaign steering committee, an extracurricular activity that had previously drawn the ire of her boss. Despite Ranzenhofer's demands that his staff remain neutral in the primary, his state senate office employees were asked to pass designating petitions for Chris Collins. McCulloch told the Buffalo News that she had performed this task despite her support for Bellavia.
New York is an 'at-will' state meaning employees can be terminated at any time for any reason. Companies are not required to provide an explanation for personnel decisions like this one.
Chris Collins has a history of committing acts that force voters to question his ability to respect his fellow human beings. There was the rat thing in Buffalo, then there was the handicapped parking space incident, the reportedly fear-based working environment in the Erie County Executive's office, and any number of other transgressions that constantly lower the public's expectations of Chris Collins ever acting like a person who respects others. Asking a State Senator to fire a mother of four who has served faithfully for years under multiple bosses falls right into the pattern of typical Collins behavior.
David Bellavia is expected to address the allegations against Collins and Ranzenhofer today in multiple appearances around the district.
Bellavia, who has received the endorsement of Republican Committees in every rural county in NY-27 should see this as a windfall for his campaign. Primary elections can be difficult to run because voters often have trouble, for obvious reasons, discerning the differences between two candidates who generally espouse the same ideology. These typically low turnout races will always come down to money and organization unless a clear line can be drawn between candidates. Bellavia has an opportunity now to draw that line using Collins' borderline behavior to ask primary voters to choose the kind of person they want representing them in the upcoming general election. I don't imagine the man who ordered the revenge firing of a working class mother is going to be able to acquit himself well on-stage in a debate with Congresswoman Kathy Hochul.
Image courtesy of Tom Dolina at Tommunisms