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Neighbor Says Kemp Can’t Manage Backyard, Much Less Presidency

June 26, 1987

HAMBURG, N.Y. (AP) _ An elderberry tree in Jack Kemp’s back yard is sprouting a little trouble with a neighbor, but the congressman’s staff says they’ll go out on a limb to take care it.

Theresa Schroer says Kemp has paid no heed to complaints that the huge tree is rotten and could collapse.

″You really have to think of the neighborhood kids. What kind of an impression does that leave about who runs for president?″ said Mrs. Schroer, whose rented home is next door to a house Kemp owns in this Buffalo suburb.

Mrs. Schroer said that since she moved here from Missouri in January, she has tried through the Republican congressman’s office to have the giant elderberry tree removed.

″He probably doesn’t even know that the tree is a problem. Every problem you have (with the property) you have to go through his office,″ said Mrs. Schroer.

″I wouldn’t vote for him,″ Mrs. Schroer said laughing. ″How can he run the country? He can’t even get that tree out of the back yard.″

Kemp has announced that he is actively seeking the Republican presidential nomination.

Told of Mrs. Schroer’s complaints, made earlier to a reporter for the Tampa Tribune, a Kemp spokeswoman said a contractor had been contacted two weeks ago and the tree would come down Friday, but there was soaking rain in the area during the morning and the tree still stood at early afternoon.

″We wanted to get to the root of this problem, so we went out on a limb to take care of it right away,″ said Marci Robinson, Kemp’s deputy press secretary.

The tree, which is at least 50 feet high, spreads 75 feet wide, from one side of Kemp’s property to the other.

″It needs to be cut down. A big wind storm would blow it down and hit the (Schroers’) garage,″ Mrs. Schroer said in an interview. ″It would get his garage too, but big deal. He doesn’t care.″

The yellow and brown two-story house, which Kemp has never lived in for any length of time and rents to a tenant, has been a past sore point for him.

Kemp’s opponent for re-election last fall, Buffalo Common Council member James Keane, made Kemp’s infrequent visits to the suburban and rural 31st District around Buffalo into a campaign issue. Keane came closer than any previous Democrat to unseating the nine-term House member.

Also during the campaign, The Washington Post said that when a reporter asked Kemp where his house was in the district, he knew the house was on South Lake Street but had to look at his driver’s license to recall the number. Kemp lives in Bethesda, Md.

Kemp’s tenant, 20-year-old Paul Carlon, said Friday that complaints about the tree were news to him.

″I haven’t given a second thought to that tree,″ he said.

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