Ballot lines :
Republican, Independence and Conservative
As Director of Women’s Services for Staten Island University Hospital, I’ve dealt with large operating and capital budgets. I was in charge of the renovation and repurposing of a hospital owned building, converting it from offices to a fully equipped women’s diagnostic center. I have broad organizational, financial and communications experience. Aside from my administrative experience, I have designed programs that successfully addressed the needs of underserved segments of the Staten Island community, particularly, regarding breast cancer detection.
Additionally, I have produced and hosted a public education television show (Staten Island Health Update) on behalf of Staten Island University Hospital.
Among the awards that i've received, the following, are two of which I am most proud.
United States Congress Certificate of Achievement 1992
Achievement Award form Borough President Guy V. Molinari for work on the NYS Department of Health, American Cancer Society, Breast Health Partnership
New York State Department of Health, 1995
My local volunteer experience has spanned my 24 years as a Clinton/Rhinebeck resident. I have served as a volunteer on numerous committees in the Clinton and Rhinebeck communities. Some of these have included, the Board of Directors of the Clinton Community Library, Town of Clinton Zoning Board of Appeals. I was vestry member of the Church of the Messiah in Rhinebeck and have volunteered in its portable food pantry, bringing food to individuals who had transportation problems.
Currently, I serve on the Board of Trustees for the Friends of Mills Mansion.
United States Congress Certificate of Achievement- for volunteer work in breast cancer awareness education-1992
Achievement Award- form Borough President Guy V. Molinari for work on the New York State Department of Health, American Cancer Society, Breast Health Partnership
New York State Department of Health-1995
First Annual Recognition Award- Staten Island Coalition to Support Breastfeeding-1994
Graduated City University of New York, College of Staten Island, School of Nursing.
Completed and certified by MU UPSILON
chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, Inc. at CUNY-
Women's Health Care Issues, Legal Implications-1993
I have no military experience, but I support our troops and our veterans.
We must focus on attracting businesses to our county and retaining the ones we already have here. We can achieve this by fostering a business friendly environment and providing incentives that include maintaining a low tax rate for our businesses.
Currently, there is a countywide economic development strategy, implemented by the Think Dutchess Alliance for Business. This includes participation in trade shows, conferences and exhibitions and has been targeting major industries with measurable success, as the unemployment rate dropped to an eight year low. I would like to see these efforts continued and enhanced with a goal of increased job creation.
I am in favor of fostering an environment that would expand opportunities for farmers and grow jobs in that sector of our county’s economy. So many small, family owned farms are lost due to finances. We must examine laws and regulations to assure that they provide safety and yet do not mandate undue burdens on the local small farmers. The continued implementation of the Agriculture and Farmland Protection Program is also important to keeping farming profitable in our county.
Additionally, I believe that continuing to vigorously protect our open space and farmland from development is a vital component to promoting our agricultural sector.
Mayor Rolson has worked with the city and county administrations to achieve greater citizen representation on the Poughkeepsie Dutchess County Public Transit Advisory Committee (PTCTC). This representation can provide an ongoing voice to the concerns and questions of residents who use the bus system.
Additionally, quarterly reviews (rather that the traditional annual reviews) of the Poughkeepsie bus routes were agreed upon by the county. The more frequent reviews can identify and address problems with things such as schedules and route changes in a timely fashion.
Prevention is vital to addressing this issue. Dutchess County is currently pursuing such an approach, with its Prevention, Intervention and Diversion initiatives, like The Stabilization Center. The majority of deaths related to opioids occur in the 20 to 29 year old age group. I would like to see an increase in initiatives that encourage positive extracurricular programs in order to divert youths from harmful and criminal activities, that greatly impact many “at risk” young people.
I believe that educating our youth about drugs when they reach middle school is a case of ‘too little too late”
I would like to see prevention initiatives begin when children reach school age, with a combination of education about addiction and positive diversion programs, such as sports, the arts and other creative and constructive activities. This can be done by enhancing currently existing extracurricular activities and/ or developing additional ones.
Our approach to this must be multi pronged.
Decreasing recidivism rates with the implementation of current programs such as the RESTART program that have proven efficacy rates are an important element in diverting individuals from re-entering the criminal justice system.
Diversion of non-violent, low-risk offenders should be pursued whenever possible and appropriate. County programs that provide alternatives to incarceration, where metal health services could be provided, should be expanded implemented for these cases. Programs such as the Crisis Stabilization Center are able to treat these individuals and divert them from incarceration.
Our jail should also be able to safely accommodate our prison population and be updated to comply with the current standards for correctional facilities. This is import for the safety and security of both inmates and staff.
In order to provide a long term and lasting solution to this issue we must attract more businesses to our county and retain the ones that are already here. Dutchess is currently investing in our Tourism, Arts and Agriculture sectors and that is proving successful. But, I would like to see us cast a broad net to attract more large businesses and industries to our Dutchess County. This may mean some investment in infrastructure improvement to attract and accommodate businesses. An increase in the number of businesses moving to Dutchess would in turn, expand our tax base and provide more jobs, as well.
Public education and awareness is a crucial element in addressing this issue. The stigma associated with mental illness often prevents people from accessing treatment.
The county is reaching out to the public with forums in order to inform people and dispel misconceptions regarding mental illness. I would like to see these outreach initiatives expanded to workplaces, schools and towns.
Dutchess County’s Stabilization Center is a valuable program for individuals with mental illness. It can provide assessment, treatment and referrals to providers.
The mission of Dutchess county Family Services is to help families and individuals help themselves through direct collaboration and advocacy. For the most part, the type and amount of services that DCFS provides to our county’s residents are determined by New York State. It is important that the county makes it clear to the public, that the DCFS is a resource that is available to them, if needed.
Our county has mounted a number of intiatives regarding alternative energy. The legislature even passed a resolution calling for the county to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. It has also, recently decided to purchase four Nissan Leaf electric cars at a deeply discounted price and will be installing four, duel port Level 2 charging stations around the county. These charging stations will not only be for county use, but for use by the public, too.
Of all its initiatives, the one that most directly affects Dutchess County residents is a resolution passed in the legislature, that exempts solar energy and solar equipment from the county’s sales tax. I believe that this will encourage more families to consider the option of solar energy.
Working Families Party
Dutchess County Legislator (Clinton/Rhinebeck) 2004-present; hosted 19 local repair cafes; launched successful drives for county Crisis Stabilization Center, for county to sue opioid manufacturers, for added funding for county Human Rights Commission in this year's budget, for hundreds of county tax dollars to help Rhinebeck with Thompson-Mazzarella Park, to expose $56 million worth of pay-to-play county contracts over last 6 years to same 23 companies, for county Small Business Registry, and launched fight against unneeded AC power line "upgrades" in Clinton; 30 years of working successfully with students in public and private schools from Rhinebeck, Millbrook, Hudson, Kingston, Arlington, and Poughkeepsie to the Bronx
Summa Cum Laude graduate of SUNY-New Paltz with B.S. in Psychology and Elementary Education certification; Regents with High Honors diploma from Rhinebeck High School; Student Body President there
These ideas from Institute for Local Self-Reliance and Democracy Collaborative:
-- delay no longer in making sure that affordable, high-speed broadband expanded across county
-- new Legacy Business Program to protect long-standing independently owned businesses (as in Seattle and San Francisco)
-- pass local version of Small Business Jobs Survival Act to limit commercial rent spikes (as proposed for NYC)
-- new Buy-Your-Business program (as in Salt Lake City)
-- new Investment Cooperative to make it easier for local residents to help local businesses survive and thrive (as in Minneapolis)
-- new Public Loan Fund to target local needs (like Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative)
-- follow example of Rochester/Cleveland: help create worker-owned cooperative; follow example of Beahive in Beacon (should be similar co-worker spaces across Dutchess)
-- start public bank (as in North Dakota, Oakland, Santa Fe, Philadelphia): cut interest rates for businesses, municipalities, students
Dutchess County should start a new revolving loan fund to help local farmers (farm real estate prices have doubled since 2004)-- and new Dutchess Farm to Table signs/stickers offered to restaurants who get a high percentage of food from local farmers to recognize their work on this and encourage more county residents and tourists to patronize those establishments. Dutchess County Office for the Aging Senior Friendship Centers, our County Jail, Dutchess County Stadium, and other Dutchess government functions should be using food from local farmers as an example for other entities in our county. Dutchess should make incentivizing and publicizing organic farming here a much higher priority as part of its Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plans. Finally, Dutchess should pass county-level version of carbon-farming tax credit Assemblymember Didi Barrett has proposed to make sure valuable nutrients are kept in local soils and prevent carbon dioxide from being released into atmosphere.
As Ann Finney and many others have sensibly suggested, the City of Poughkeepsie should seriously consider restoring bus service severely cut back over the last several months with a new Public Authority. Because of cuts and changes to bus service, Poughkeepsie residents like Karlton Jones (with lymphedema in both knees and forced to use cane for last 5 years) have seen time/length of shopping trips double-- at higher cost as well (insult to injury). The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights under Law, founded by JFK, pointed out with Community Voices Heard, NY Civic Engagement Table, and Hogan Lovells how illegal county bus takeover is according to Title VI of 1964 Civil Rights Act (privatization through First Transit). Dutchess County, with $59.6 million fund balance (budget surplus) this May (triple what it was, on average, from 1996 through 2012), should restore millions in sales tax revenue it took from Poughkeepsie (and Rhinebeck, Clinton and other municipalities) to help on this.
Dutchess should immediately discontinue the practice of arresting and keeping dozens of nonviolent drug addicts locked up daily in our county jail— and instead make sure they are given treatment instead (actually do this instead of just lip service on this for last three years). Specifically, Dutchess should join PAARI, the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative— as Erie, Jefferson, Cattaraugus, and Onedia counties have, and as the municipalities of Woodstock, Chatham, Cooperstown, Cobleskill, Buffalo, and Niagara Falls have. All those counties, towns, and cities (and 150 others across the U.S.) have made a commitment and followed through on it to treat instead of incarcerate nonviolent drug addicts— it’s long past time for Dutchess County to do this here. Finally, Dutchess County should also decriminalize marijuana as has already been done in NYC, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Miami, Palm Beach, MA, VT, NH, RI, CO, IL, MD, and yes, in Oregon, Alaska, and Washington D.C.
First-- our County Legislature could and should send a strong message by resolution/law to the Dutchess County District Attorney's office and local law enforcement that nonviolent drug addicts should no longer be arrested or jailed-- the fact is that Dutchess County Executive Molinaro himself stated publicly at a Dutchess County Criminal Justice Council External Advisory Group forum at the Bardavon in January 2015 that this would no longer happen-- but sadly this practice continues to this day; literally 50 nonviolent drug addicts charged with nothing more than "criminal possession of a controlled substance" are locked up right now in the Dutchess County Jail. Second-- at least half of Dutchess County inmates haven't even been sentenced yet-- Dutchess County should follow the cost-saving examples of Washington, D.C., Chicago, and New Jersey and enact smart bail reform. Hudson River Housing's housing-first program for chronically mentally ill homeless folks should be expanded as well.
Given the huge county fund balance just announced, Dutchess County government should follow the example of our county's own FDR and bond out to create a massive new New Deal Public Works Infrastructure Jobs program with matching grants for local municipalities to make sure water/sewer infrastructure built out in the towns who need it and create at least one open-hiring business to fight recidivism for the formerly incarcerated along the lines of Greyston Bakery in Yonkers and Peter Young Housing, Industries (Greyston.com, PYHIT.com). Finally, Dutchess County should create a Land Bank to deal with the proliferation of so-called "zombie properties" all over, as Albany County has-- "to facilitate the process of acquiring, improving and redistributing vacant and abandoned properties to eliminate the harms and liabilities caused by such properties and return them to productive use, while being consistent with the municipality’s redevelopment and comprehensive plans”-- we need this here badl
Dutchess should treat addiction as a disease-- not a crime. Our county should also follow the example of NYC's THRIVE Mental Health Service Corps volunteer program to promote/protect well-being of local folks. Regarding the child psychiatric beds that disappeared St. Frances Hospital (now at Mid-Hudson Regional Hospital), some way somehow they need to be restored to our county-- it's beyond ridiculous that parents of children with serious mental illness for years have been forced to drive to the Rockland County Psychiatric Center or Four Winds in Westchester to see their kids. Finally, Dutchess desperately needs Center for Youth Wellness here similar to what San Francisco has already to address an urgent public health issue: "early adversity harms the developing brains and bodies of children. In partnership there with local hospital, they screen young people for Adverse Childhood Experiencesthat we know can lead to toxic stress and lifelong problems with health, wellness & learning."
First, Dutchess should hold series of public hearings across county on how our county's Office of Community and Family Services could and should be made better. Second, DCFS needs to take much more seriously the issue of elder abuse-- approximately 1 in 10 Americans aged 60+ have experienced some form of elder abuse; only 1 in 14 cases of abuse are reported to authorities, and in almost 60% of elder abuse and neglect incidents, the perpetrator is a family member (two thirds of perpetrators are actually adult children or spouses). Third, DCFS should follow example of Richmond/VA's Office of Community Wealth Building and in particular its Building Lives to Independence and Self Sufficiency (BLISS) program to addressstructural causes of poverty and do more to actually connect people to living wage jobs with local employers. Finally, as I've asked for a decade, we need names of large companies locally paying workers poverty wages (government benefits we pay for = corporate welfare).
Dutchess should follow example of GOP San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer (even Chamber of Commerce there)-- they, along with 1400 other mayors across the U.S., have committed to come up with concrete plans to make their municipalities fossil-fuel-free by 2035 as an economic development initiative (Readyfor100.org). Moving towards fossil-fuel-free future for Dutchess, according to 2013 report from Cornell/Stanford, would create 67,000 green construction jobs here, over 800 permanent new green jobs, saving $537 million annually on energy/electricity costs, and 59 lives (from cleaner air and less carbon emissions). As I've long called for, Dutchess sorely needs a Public/Private Sector and BlueGreen AllianceTask Force on this issue to develop concrete plan for this and make Community Choice Aggregation reality as well (CitizenforLocalPower.com BlueGreenAlliance.org). Finally, recycling and composting towards zero waste creates ten times more jobs than incineration or landfilling (ILSR.org)