The Democratic candidate in a mayoral race in New York’s Columbia County alleges his opponent has attacked his HIV status rather than focusing on more substantive issues. The incumbent Republican mayor tells a different story.
Victor Mendolia is the Democratic and Working Families candidate for mayor of the City of Hudson. He is openly gay and HIV positive. Mendolia says he was recently told that his opponent, incumbent Republican Mayor William Hallenbeck, attacked his HIV status during a speech at Providence Hall - an affordable housing residence for senior citizens and people with disabilities. Mendolia posted the alleged comments on his campaign website, in the form of an e-mail from who he says is an employee at Providence Hall who was present during Hallenbeck’s speech. Here’s Mayor Hallenbeck.
Hallenbeck says he spoke to what is a matter of public record about Mendolia, and in response to a question from a resident, a question he says that comes up a lot.
Mendolia accused some in Hallenbeck’s camp of raising questions about his health due to his HIV-positive status and criticizing him for accessing disability benefits to which he says he is legally qualified. He says if elected mayor:
Mendolia, who left his post earlier this year as Hudson Democratic Committee Chairman to run for mayor, says he wishes he did not have to discuss his health and disability matters, but understands some voters want to hear about them.
Hallenbeck says Mendolia’s categorization that Mendolia’s HIV status is now a mayoral race issue is unfair.
Here’s Mendolia, who also put his radio show on WGXC on hiatus.
The candidates have not debated. Mendolia has scheduled a moderated Town Hall meeting Saturday in place of a debate. Hallenbeck says he will not attend.