We sat down with Putnam YR chair John Greene to discuss, among other things, the grand opening of the new Putnam YR HQ in Cold Spring, NY.
How did you first get involved with conservative/Republican politics?
It was not until a 4 years ago that I was even registered to Vote. I come from a family that was not really into politics at all. I spent allot of time with NRA and other sportsmen groups and that is when I realized just how important it was to become part of the political process. Through these orgainzations I learned that with my true beliefs being Pro-gun, Pro-life ,Pro small government , and less government control of our lives that the republican party was the right party for me.
Putnam is one of our “newer” YR organizations. How did you get it off the ground?
I ran for a seat on the town of Kent town board 2 years ago and while I was running for office I was unaware that the YR’s even existed. The GOP was no fan of mine at the time because I was new and I had many comments during debates about me being to young to run for office. Well guess what at age 30 I became the youngest person to ever be elected in the town of Kent. It was an uphill battle working against the GOP and the other parties in a 6-way election. I feel that younger people today don’t want to run for office on their own because of fear that they might not know how or might be afraid that they cannot win without organization. Once I discovered the YR’s and that Putnam didn’t have a chapter I knew that this had to change. I reached out to Giovani Scaringi via email and he called me back shortly after. He had told me about the minimum requirements to start a chapter so I went out and found a team of people who were interested. I felt that because the Republican party is so divided here in Putnam it would be in the best interest of the club to chose one person from each side of the party to start out with. So far they have been the best team of guys and gals that I have ever worked with on any volunteer organizations. We worked to gather the minimum requirments brought them to the Dutchess meeting earlier this year and the rest is history.
You recently just had the grand opening for the “Putnam YR HQ.” How did that come about?
The motto I live by is “go big or go home” a few months ago I spoke to my team and asked them to try to hink outide the box about something we could do to really make our presence felt. After a Putnam Valley GOP meeting Kevin Byrne called me on the phone and told me that I had to go down to Cold Spring and meet with his friend Bill then hung up. I went down there and met with them learning that he had dropped the call. When I got there we were standing in front of a very old and run down building joining us were also the owners of he building. Bill had said to me with your construction backround would you be willing to renovate the building inside and out in leiu of paying rent to use the space. I immeadiately thought YES but I had to wiat to say anything until I ran it by my team. Once I proposed the idea with a cost the vote was unanimous. I drew up a lease agreement, we and the owners signed it and there we were with a great opportunity. For 2 months of nights and weekends we spent countless hours there and turned the building from the worst looking place on Main Street to one of the nicest places in town. The entire time we were there we were heckled by people walking by telling us the Republicans don’t belong here and asking if we know the culture of the village. My answer to this is ” This is gonna be the most fun campaign season I had in my life. “Wait till they get a load of me in full force”.
Besides 2012 being a big Presidential year, we also have another shot at Sen. Kristen Gilligan. Who do you think would make a good candidate to go against her?
I am not aware of any other candidates other than Jay Townsend who I believe will run again. If things stay that way he will have my full support.
When not sticking it to the local Dems, what do you do outside if the YRs to unwind?
I don’t get much time to unwind as I currentely have 4 jobs and am the also the president of another volunteer organization called Pheasants Forever. I have all of southern NY as my chapter. When I do get the chance to unwind I do so either on the target range, in the woods hunting, or fishing. I am also the chairman of the Putnam County Youth hunt which let’s me give the opportunity of hunting to kids who might not have a chance with their parents or anyone else. I am also a Nascar fan, and I have been known to vist a few of the local bars at night.