The Candidates for 2019
By The Gazette Editorial Committee
From Issue 44: Fall 2019
Candidates were asked to respond to the following question in a maximum of 150 words. Responses were not edited: “What do you hope to achieve in the coming term?”
Party affiliations (as supplied by candidates): Rep (R); Dem (D); Working Families (WF); Conservative (C); Independent (I)
Candidate for Town Supervisor
(D) incumbent, unopposed
Goals for my upcoming term which I will prioritize are as follows. Top priorities are: to complete the I & I Study for the Sewer Treatment Plant and implement the suggested remedies necessary, replace the yellow-flagged Clove Road Bridge, update our financial software, work jointly with the Open Space Commission to implement procedures for accepting conservation and other easements, and continue to improve inter-board communications.
Secondary, continue auditing our zoning code on an annual basis, continue working on the pole barn at Majestic Park, implement maintenance policies for town owned properties, help support our senior citizens, continue improving our Summer Recreation program and support our Climate Smart Task Force.
Finally, I will continue working on multi-year budgeting, search for more affordable health care coverage, continue searching for grants to help us make improvements that will not result in increased taxes and continue exploring shared services with other towns and the county.
Candidates for Town Board
Laura Faye Walls
(D) incumbent, unopposed
What do I hope to achieve in the coming term?
I seek to develop the softer side of governance – the little things that make a municipality a community such as brilliantly dark night skies, bicycle and pedestrian friendly, diversity in all its forms, quiet enjoyment, and a culture of arts, education and genuine communication. As an elected official bound by obligations and constraints, for me, competing interests and needs too often obscure opportunities for the many and varied ways Gardiner’s graciousness can shine and serve as a platform for our local economy, recreation, housing, environment and community life. I hope that between budgets, financial management, policy development and implementation, local laws, and perpetual problem solving, that I will keep my intention on softer side, keep my eye on the goal, a Gracious Gardiner.
Thank you for the opportunity.
(D) incumbent, unopposed
The goal of the upcoming term is to continue the momentum gained since accepting the vacated seat on the Town Board earlier this year.
Specifically, over the next several months I plan to have a new law on the books which will allow Community Choice Aggregation (CCA). CCA will allow the residents and businesses of Gardiner to receive their electricity from green, renewable energy sources while also saving money.
I will continue my support of committees such as the Environmental Conservation Committee and Climate Smart Gardiner, both of which do incredible work for Gardiner and our surrounding communities. My focus will continue to be on the environment, and I will ensure that Gardiner receives its fair share of State funding while also ensuring we take advantage of the many opportunities available for projects and grant money.
Candidate for Town Justice
(D) incumbent, unopposed
Implementation of the new statutory amendments accelerating the pretrial disclosure process in criminal cases and virtually eliminating the cash bail system will present challenges to local courts throughout the state. We hope to adapt to this new legislation as efficiently as possible, working with the district attorney’s office, defense attorneys and local police agencies to minimize the difficulties posed by compliance with the new statutes.
I hope to continue to work with my co-judge Bob Rich to provide a fair and accessible court for resolution of civil and criminal matters for all town residents. Finally, I hope to continue my record of never having a Decision reversed by any appellate court.
Candidates For Ulster County Legislature
(D, WF) incumbent
As your representative I will, first and foremost, continue to deliver a balanced budget. I am proud that, over the course of my term, we cut county property taxes and reduced the town tax burden.
As Chairperson of the Legislature, I am able to help shape the focus of county government. Economic development remains a top priority. If we want our children to be able to stay here, we need to attract and maintain a resilient business community with well paying jobs. We must continue the successful investment in our infrastructure.
Additionally, I am so proud of Ulster County’s record as an environmental leader. I will continue to work toward a green future that cuts costs, creates jobs, and protects the environment. For almost 25 years, Gardiner has been my home. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to represent you and to work on your behalf.
(R, I, C)
Across our county, many people are struggling with unemployment, drug addiction and high taxes. Towns and cities like Kerhonkson and Kingston have seen industry drain away and now it’s extremely difficult to get good jobs. Many county residents depend on a range of social services to make ends meet.
As I’ve knocked the doors of people across District 16, I’ve talked to many business owners hungry for more employees. We must improve our ability to match those looking for work with those offering it, including necessary job training.
Under the current leadership, the legislature is more worried about taxing plastic bags than about helping the most vulnerable among us. I will be laser focused on making Ulster County the best place to open or relocate companies that will offer jobs at all skill levels and matching county residents with job opportunities.
Candidates For County Executive
As Ulster County Executive I will prioritize the needs of the people. First, we must address our distinction of being highest in heroin overdose deaths in NYS. I will ensure Ulster County is not a welcoming place for Central American drug cartels. I will rescind any executive order that hinders free and open cooperation of Ulster County employees with federal authorities who are working to enforce American law.
I will examine geographic areas of persistent poverty and create a task force to mitigate and eradicate poverty while continuing to assist those in need. I will create a commission to investigate the numerous allegations of a “pay to play” network existing between the Ulster County government and vendors and developers wishing to do business with or in Ulster County.
I will work to find financial efficiencies that will reduce taxes. I will encourage development and job growth in Ulster County.
(D, I, WF) incumbent
As County Executive, my top priorities have been tackling the opioid epidemic, protecting our environment, and being mindful of keeping our area affordable and taxes down. I have made a commitment to cut opioid fatalities by 50% in two years and I have worked to acquire over three million dollars in funding to help achieve this goal.
Protecting our environment is another key area of mine. I have set a goal of making Ulster County use 100% renewable energy by 2030. Additionally, my administration is in the process of converting an old brownfield in Saugerties to a solar array which when completed will account for 20% of our renewable energy. It is essential that we keep our area affordable. Recently I stood up an innovation team to evaluate how we operate and make sure that our tax dollars are being spent well and efficiently. In my second term, I am looking to expand on these early successes.