Ever contemplated getting involved, giving back, having a voice? Well, have we got an opportunity for you!
Every two years, the Town of Gardiner holds local elections for various positions in the Town. This fall there will be a number available: two openings for Town Board, one for Supervisor, one for Judge and one for Highway Superintendant. And, as always, we need candidates to step up to the plate!
I never dreamed of getting involved in “politics.” First, in the back of my brain were all of the nasty things I’d heard about politicians, and more specifically, LOCAL politicians. Second, I’m a very private person—the thought of being a public official was counter to everything I had grown up with. But now, after having served on the Town Board for almost 8 years, I’ve got to say: this has been one of the most important, and rewarding, experiences of my life.
In New York State, we have what is called a “Home Rule” law. This law gives extensive power to local governments to decide what is best for their community. So, as a town, we can develop policies and pass laws that address our specific needs and situations. The Town Board in Gardiner, which has five voting members elected by the community, makes the final decisions on where our community is heading.
I came close to moving away from Gardiner in 2001—there was extensive development pressure in the Town, and I became aware that our Town Board was not addressing the issue head on. Controversial subdivisions—including the proposed luxury development on 2,500 acres of the Shawangunk Ridge called “Awosting Reserve”—were threatening everything that I loved here. Instead of running away, I decided to see what I could do to change things. I decided to get involved.
Looking back over the last eight years, I can say with confidence that the old addage that “nothing ever gets done in politics” is simply not true. The Town Board, along with a committed group of volunteers, has taken significant steps. It created and adopted a new Master Plan and Zoning Law, an Open Space Plan and Law and a Hamlet Master Plan. It renovated and enlarged the Town Hall and built a new library, renovated the hamlet sewer system to make it environmentally-friendly, raised significant funding for sidewalks and hamlet revitalization efforts and permanently preserved open space—including Awosting Reserve’s 2,500 acres and the Kiernan Farm.
There is more work to do, and, though I regret having to make the decision, it is time for me to pass the torch. If you are interested, please contact either the Democratic or Republican Party Chairs: Leon Steiner or Pattie Jacobsen. I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have: 255-4374.
This is a unique opportunity to make real change happen in our back yard; please consider it!