Pubdate: Sun, 24 Feb 2002
Source: Ogdensburg Journal/Advance News (NY)
Copyright: 2002 St. Lawrence County Newspapers Corp
Cited: ReconsiDer,
Author: Sue Ellen McAdam
Bookmark: (Rockefeller Drug Laws)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Hemp)


An Ogdensburg resident hopes to unseat Assemblywoman Dierdre (DeDe) 
Scozzafava (R-Gouverneur) in the next general election.

Lee Monnet, 45, a resident of the Haggart Road, Ogdensburg, is now 
preparing for his bid for Assembly. He has been endorsed by the Libertarian 
Party, America's third largest and fastest growing political party. He will 
need to collect a total of 1,500 qualifying signatures on his petition to 
be considered for the political office. Petitions are due in August.

Even though Monnet has never held a political office, he believes that 
candidates don't have to be a lawyer or a professional politician to run 
for office. Monnet said he has the time and energy to devote to changing laws.

His political platform centers around: civil liberties, prohibition, 
self-defense, freedom of choice, repealing the Rockefeller Drug Laws, 
lowering the legal drinking age to 19, support of ballot referendums, equal 
rights for gun owners, increasing Drug Education in the schools and more.

His slogan simply is "Freedom of Choice."

Why Is He Running?

"I've seen a regression of our civil rights over the years," he stated. 
"Over the pat few decades government has been reducing the public's right 
to freedom of choice. I want to send a message to Albany that we can make 
our own choices."

"My platform is to protect the civil liberties of freedom and support a 
free market economy...reduce the size of government in our life, repeal 
Rockefeller Drug Laws, lower the legal drinking age to 19, repeal seatbelt 
laws, support ballot referendums, and increase Drug Education in our school 
through public health professionals...not law enforcement officers," said 
Monnet, who founded the local chapter of ReconsiDer, which is a grassroots, 
not-for-profit educational membership organization in New York State that 
dedicates itself to initiating and supporting public discussion of the Drug 
War and exploring alternative drug policies.

Monnet said Assemblywoman Scozzafava has been "one of the more progressive 
politicians," but she is where he wants to go.

He said there's a lack of rapport with Congressman John M. McHugh and State 
Senator James Wright concerning the medical marijuana issue. Monnet 
believes the issue should be put on a ballot referendum for the people to 

"This is a growing issue. Why can't people who are dying of cancer use 
marijuana to help ease their pain and suffering? I've read about several 
marijuana arrests from the reservation that appeared in The Journal. It's a 
black market-prohibition. People are willing to take a chance to make money 
on it. Prohibition causes a lot of crime," he stated.

Monnet said that some lawmakers have tunnel vision when it comes to making 
decisions. For example, some Congressmen are in support of making hemp oil 
substances illegal. "But what they are missing is that hemp could be a 
windfall for farmers," he pointed out.

Hemp is grown legally in Canada. One acre of hemp has the same pulp as four 
acres of trees. It can be used for fuel, paint, and more. Corn and cotton 
deplete the soil, but hemp doesn't, said Monnet. He said that the DEA 
claims that hemp looks so much like marijuana, that people would grow 
marijuana among the hemp plants.

On an economic note, Monnet believes in privatization.

"We need to reduce the size of government through privatization...allow 
entrepreneurs to flourish instead of squashing them with regulations," he 

Monnet graduated from Ogdensburg Free Academy in 1975. He joined in the 
U.S. Coast Guard in 1976 and was honorably discharged. He is a part-time 
mechanic. He enjoys working outside where he now has the beginnings of an 
orchard on his property. He is the chairperson of ReconsiDer of Northern 
New York Chapter.

Monnet was convicted of possession of marijuana in 1995.

His wife, Joanne works in Ogdensburg. The couple has two daughters, 
Michelle and Faith.

Monnet said there are voter registration forms available at Bob's County 
Cabin, 938 Ford Street, Ogdensburg, for anyone wishing to register for the 
next election.
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MAP posted-by: Jackl