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When I announced last year my candidacy for the Democratic nomination for Congress representing the people of the 19th Congressional District, I emphasized that this race is not about political ambition or personal gratification. Rather it is an effort to bring responsible representation to the District and change the direction of the region and country. We must, as a people, reject the old politics of confrontation and negativity...to literally put PEOPLE over Politics. We need to find real solutions to real problems. We need to implement solutions that work....and not entertain sound bites that advance only a politicianís personal agenda. Health care costs, the lack of retirement security, outsourcing, the enormous federal deficit, the lack of security in our ports, a war we didnít need to wage, an under-funded education system, skyrocketing property taxes, a failed energy policy, gas price hikes, and illegal immigration are just some of the important issues facing our district and nation. We have no time for politics as usual, but rather we must fashion real alternatives to the failed policies of the current administration. I firmly believe that if we work together we can and we must change the direction of our country. This is why at every forum I spoke of the need for all progressive Democrats to unite behind one candidate. The response to my message of unity has been warmly received by Democrats in every one of the five counties (Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Orange and Duchess). I am especially proud of our victory at the Westchester Convention and our support in all the others as well. I am also grateful for the strong endorsement from the Yorktown Democratic Committee, the UAW, and the Yorktown PBA. I believe our country is at a critical crossroads. This November the Democratic Party has the opportunity to take back the House and restore balance to the Federal government. This balance is sorely needed since we have suffered under one party rule for a long time. Our voices, our progressive ideas, our concerns have not been heard. This is precisely why I entered the race. It was not for personal ambition or gain but to advocate in a strong, clear voice for progressive change and bring much needed representation to the citizens of the District. In my judgment, it is imperative that we join forces now to ensure that we elect a Democrat to the 19th Congressional District in November. To continue to divide our energy and resources among so many candidates will only make it more likely that we will fail. I believe that the best role I can play towards that end, is not as a candidate, but rather as an ardent supporter of the Democratic Nominee. I therefore have decided to end my candidacy but not my involvement. Despite submitting the requisite number of signatures to have my name placed on the September Primary ballot, I have notified the State Board of Elections of my intention to decline that honor. I remain however more dedicated than ever to speaking out with passion and conviction about what we can do to improve the lives of every single citizen in the 19th Congressional District. We owe it to ourselves, our children and our grandchildren to work as hard as we can to ensure that we have a change of leadership in Washington this fall. And thatís exactly what I intend to do. My heartfelt thanks go out to all those who have supported my campaign, who worked as volunteers, who signed and carried my petitions, who contributed to my campaign both with financial support and with blood, sweat and tears. I ask all of you to join me in fighting with all our hearts for the principles we believe in. I ask you to join me in my efforts to unite the Democratic Party and win this seat in November. I look forward to continuing to serve the residents of Yorktown as Councilman and continuing my lifelong commitment to public service. Councilman James J. Martorano

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Mr. Kaplan's letter claims that almost 2,000 proxy votes were disqualified. That is absolutely false....

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