PITTSFORD, NY – The temperature may have pushed 90 degrees in the St. John Fisher auditorium, but Maggie Books delivered what she hopes will be her last State of the County address cold. Her ninth such speech, Brooks was an on-message machine dispatching jobs numbers and accolades with practiced precision. As is her standard MO, Brooks must have mentioned jobs a dozen times in the first 20 minutes, speaking directly to what polls suggest is the number one issue for voters locally and nationally.
Having been to a handful of these State of the County addresses over the years, the difference was in the context. While Brooks and her team have gotten better at making her view of her record the generally accepted one, her critics have seemingly gotten worse at disputing it. If this speech was anything but a codification of the Maggie Brooks narrative, it was lost on me.
While many are asking how a Brooks congressional campaign will differ from a Brooks county campaign, I think the real question is why would it need to? I can’t help thinking that questions about Brooks positions on controversial national issues will be treated exactly like questions about administrative corruption have been, by both groups. Brooks will stick to a brief statement and get back to talking about things local people care about (jobs and taxes) and critics will try frantically to convince the public that they should care about something else (other than jobs and taxes). Say what you want, but it has worked three times before with the exact same voters.
Anyway, as the campaign progresses, I look very much forward to covering the race, On the Ground so to speak, in photos and commentary for Roc25. This is a somewhat new role for me, but I couldn’t be happier to work with Rottenchester on this project. Let me also say to my friends and potential tipsters, my phone number hasn’t changed, and to my critics and detractors, hang up and press one.
This is going to be fun.