Protect our Farms and Open Space

Most of us love our farms and open space and how Red Hook and Tivoli have worked to preserve them over the last 10 years. I am proud to have helped get these policies passed, as a supporter and activist in the early years when farms were still at risk for McMansion style development.

As our county legislator, I continue to protect our farms, expand opportunities for farmers and preserve our open space. Despite our love for our programs, that love is not universal and there are groups that would still like to chop up our farms into development. We must remain vigilant and make sure we don’t lose what we’ve already achieved.

Opioid and Drug Addiction

The abuse of heroin, opioids and other drugs have spread into our communities, a poison and a plague on our community and families. While we cannot force anyone into treatment we need to make sure we expand the opportunities for those facing addiction problems to seek treatment whenever they need it. Our justice system needs to be a partner in this – incarceration for non-violent addicts is not the answer and is only a drain on taxpayer resources that could be used to fight this epidemic.

Our friends and families are counting on us. As county legislator, I am working to make sure our community has the resources we need here so when one of our neighbors needs help, we have something to offer.

Vibrant Villages

What our small businesses need most is more customers. We get more customers by allowing more people to live within walking distance of our village centers. But to do that we need to improve our village infrastructure.

The Village of Red Hook is contemplating a sewer system and the Village of Tivoli has an aging system in need of repairs. I have friendships and working relationships with leaders in both villages and I am looking forward to assisting in whatever way possible to help them grow.

Taxes and Tax Reform

I was one of the early members of the Tax Reform Effort of Northern Dutchess (TREND), part of a state-wide coalition of groups that have pushed to cap local property taxes with a income-based “circuit breaker” to help our seniors and those on a fixed income, and people who run into tough times, from being impoverished by local property taxes. While our current, so-called “2% tax cap” is a start, a real cap would reduce our taxes, not just make them rise a little slower.

The county’s share of property taxes has not had a dramatic increase recently but that could soon change with the planned construction of a $200M+ jail in Poughkeepsie. The current jail needs work that cannot be put off forever and the health and safety of corrections officers and inmates – many of whom are just being held on bail, not convicted – should be protected. So I will work with my fellow legislators on both sides of the aisle to right-size the jail project so we don’t end up overbuilding for the wrong reasons and hiking taxes.