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VOTE411 Voter Guide

DC Legislative District 04

  • Hannah Black (Dem)

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    Harold Ramsey (Rep) engineer

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1. What can the County do to create employment opportunities for County Residents?

2. What can the County do to promote growth in the agriculture sector?

3. Now that the County has taken over the City of Poughkeepsie Bus system, what can be done to address the concerns of the residents for whom access has been reduced?

4. Dutchess County is struggling to find ways of coping with the growing opioid epidemic: how can we improve the effectiveness of current practice? Or, are there any alternative strategies that you feel would be worth considering?

5. How best can the County address the problem that inmate populations exceed the ability of the jail system to adequately house and support them?

6. Cities and towns in Dutchess County have seen a decline in the tax base, while infrastructure ages, and needs repair or replacing. How can the County address this?

7. What needs to be done to improve quality of and access to Mental Health resources for Dutchess County residents?

8. In 2015, 1 in 10 Dutchess County residents was receiving services from DCFS. What can the County do in order to improve upon what Family Services provides for those who rely on these services?

9. Should the County encourage development of alternative energy sources, and if so, what might be the most effective strategies?

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Campaign Phone (845) 453-7403
Party Enrollment/Designations Republican, Conservative, Independence
Age 59
Experience IBM engineer/project manager 35+ years community volunteer - Little League coach (25 yrs), past fire chief/EMT, board member/volunteer (many local not for profit organizations), past zoning/town board member, Officer in Sons of American Legion Post,
Education National Institute of Technology Marist College - Computer Science/Business
Military History US Air Force 1976-1980
Increased usage of our existing resources is a start. Dutchess County Economic Development Committee and organizations such as the Think Dutchess Alliance and Dutchess Tourism should continue to be utilized to their fullest, not only bring new jobs to the valley but to expand existing businesses and replace the many jobs that are being lost. In addition, a strong tie-in with our local colleges, utilizing some of their resources to assist future grads in endeavors locally will benefit all. Finally, we should encourage and advertise skilled trade education at our local Community College and thru BOCES programs. There is a demand for trades such as electricians, plumbers, carpenters, etc. that is not always being met. These skills do not always need four years of higher education. We need to refocus some of our efforts, helping where possible, on the resources in the county in providing this type training where needed.
The county currently is and should continue to support our local farmers with tax breaks as needed on active farmland. We should help provide promotional support to our farms, helping them market both within and outside the area. The "Buy Local" and "Farm to Table" endeavors should continue to be backed and promoted through the same organizations mentioned above (EDC, Tourism, etc). We need to continue looking at ways to protect our farmlands from development whenever feasible. The county's "Partnership for Manageable Growth" has done a great job in this area, and that needs to continue.
First we need to understand where the need is and who has the need. With the current changes ongoing in the City/County bus system we may need to continue looking at the current routes that are in place and determine if they are still viable and the best choices for all the residents of the county. If there are areas where there is a need and that need is being underserved we may need to alter our existing routes. As a last resort, if there is a true need shown that is not being served we may need to look at expanding the current service offered
Dutchess County is like so many other counties in our nation - we are in the midst of a drug crisis. The first thing we need to do is understand and accept there really is a problem and it affects all walks of life in Dutchess. This is not a problem that can be solved overnight. Some of the reasons we are where we are, in regard to opiods, is the over-prescribing of legal drugs. This is beginning to garner national attention and steps are being taken here and nationally by professionals to control this. At a minimum we can start by making it easier to get unused prescription drugs off the street...either through local pharmacies or thru the county. We should also continue to support facilities such as the new stabilization center is a must. Centers like this not only provide immediate help for those in need, but it also takes some of the burden off our jail and our hospitals. Finally, I believe we must continue to provide support and education to all of our first responders.
Housing inmates outside Dutchess is not a solution….it is a band-aid that is costing us. We need to solve this problem locally. Unfortunately that may mean creating more housing and thus more support. The recently approved Justice & Transition Center should provide the housing we need locally. But we also need to ensure we have adequate trained and compensated personnel to manage this new center. In addition we should continue looking for ways to reduce our prison population...this may mean alternatives to incarceration where feasible for non-violent and low risk offenders.
The tax base is declining because our people and our businesses are leaving, both in the towns and cities of Dutchess and throughout the state. We need to lower the cost of living here and we need to reduce the bureaucratic red tape and eliminate some of the government burden on our business and let them prosper. When businesses prosper they hire people….when more people are working tax revenues go up. While it is true that a lot of infrastructure needs improving, if we just keep expending our tax dollars and don’t find a way to increase our revenue fairly we will see this exodus from New York and Dutchess continue, and we will see more boarded up business and home ‘for sale’ signs. A thriving workforce and a growing business environment will provide the much needed funds to ensure our infrastructure is safe and secure.
Private/Public cooperation is a must here. There are a number of private mental health resources that are doing a tremendous job. Having said that, the new Dutchess County Stabalization Center is a great start from a public perspective. Time will tell if this new center is enough or if Dutchess needs to continue to grow in that endeavor. Either way, Dutchess needs to tie in and support the many local professionals in the private sector such as the ARC of Dutchess, Astor Home, and many others. The Stabalization Center may be the doorway to many getting follow on help.

Much of the services used and needed are controlled by the state. We should assist our residents and the state in providing these services and where possible we help those currently utilizing these services become more self sufficient if possible.
Alternate resources are great but must be looked at with caution. Where economically feasible we should definitely be looking at and pursuing them…whether solar, wind, geothermal, electric and any other. However, as just about every question posed in this survey focuses on economics (employment, drug use, declining tax base, govt spending on needed social programs), if we look at alternative energy sources without looking at the economic impact of implementing them, we just may be shortchanging so many other needed resources of the govt’s few dollars. If we can show a true benefit to all through support of alternative resources (whether that be electric buses, solar tax breaks, etc) then we should pursue it… logo


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