|Rus Thompson with Carl Paladino
It's a simple message delivered by a fiery crusader who, in his own words, "hates corruption with every fiber of my being."
The corruption warrior is none other than Grand Island's Rus Thompson who has yet to meet a cause that he won't take on if it involves government dishonesty or, more bluntly, political agendas to advance personal gain not public benefit.
Rus Thompson, tireless at age 58, is the spokesman for TEA New York, with TEA an acronym for Taxed Enough Already, which by its own definition seeks to "reform the severely dysfunctional New York State government through Citizen and Political Action, and Policy Development. We meet, we protest, we wage campaigns to educate thepublic, we become committeemen and candidates, and we participate in political campaigns; we call, we write, craft and sign petitions, we become a thorn in our legislators' sides."
It could be the SAFE Act, high taxes, or the case of a student refusing to remove an NRA T-shirt. The causes are many, and TEA New York and Rus Thompson are ready tomake their case.
You have to admire Thompson, even if you don't agree with all of his causes, because of his tenacity in trying to fix what he believes needs fixing in government—local or state---and giving his all to try to open up government to the public.
From the day in the mid-1990's when he and several protesters were asked to leave a Grand Island Town Board meeting, to the present when he recently set up an on-line petition to urge New York State to stop using tax dollars to pay for the legal defense of three state employees in the Canalside legal fight over the replica canals project, Rus Thompson has put pedal to the metal in his anti-corruption crusade and continues to work tirelessly on behalf of the citizens he believes are mostly being ill-served and cheated by politicians across the state.
Thompson joined political renegade Carl Paladino in his gubernatorial campaign of 2012 and helped the Buffalo developer beat Andrew Cuomo hands down in local voting.
And Thompson is still working with Paladino in Paladino's efforts to fix the mess that is known as the Buffalo public school system.
Rus Thompson has enjoyed few clear victories, but he carries on anyway, no matter the odds, and you can be sure that as long as there's life left in his tank, he won't go away. This is a man who is truly dedicated to trying to get a fair shake for the public, and you can learn more about his efforts by visiting the TEA New York website or just Google Thompson and you'll find his latest cause front and center.
"They [government] may ignore us, but we're not going away," says Thompson in describing his dedication. "We're going to keep on trying to get them to do the right things for the public, and that's what we're all about."