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VOTE411 Voter Guide

DC Legislative District 25

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    Deirdre Houston (Rep) Owner/Floral Designer Millbrook Floral Design

  • James Pearson (Dem)

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Biographical Information

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?

Campaign Phone (845) 677-9639
Party Enrollment/Designations Republican, Independence, Conservative, Reform
Age 48
Experience Small business owner, elected member of Millbrook Central School District Board of Education, Chairperson of Audit committee, member of facilities committee. Member of the Millbrook Arts Group. Former board member of the Millbrook Educational Foundation. Currently serving on the board of the Millbrook Business Assoc.
Education SUNY @ Alfred
As a small business owner I understand the important role small businesses play within our county. County government should work with individuals and entrepreneurs to create a "friendly" business environment. Work to support those interested in expanding their businesses and pave the way for local businesses to prosper. Continue to invest in the Think Dutchess Business Alliance to assist businesses in start-up and expansion within Dutchess County. Continued investment in economic development and agriculture along with tourism and the arts are key to the success of county business and employment opportunities for county residents.
We as Dutchess County residents are lucky to live in a region that is agriculturally diverse from horse and working farms to apple orchards to newly opened distilleries. We need to continue to acknowledge the importance of these lands and work to protect them. With continued investment protect open space and save farmland from development. Agriculture is a key component of our local economy and Dutchess County is one of only two counties in New York that has an Ag Navigator position. This person serves as an advocate for farmers and is the first point of contact for people seeking information about agriculture in Dutchess County. Continued investment in the Agricultural Advisory Commission that was formed two years ago by the County Executive to ensure the county's Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan is properly being implemented.
Dutchess County should continue to hold forums for concerned citizens and find ways to expand service for all Dutchess County residents. Public transportation should be made widely available throughout the county. Make expansion of the bus system a priority and solicit ongoing feedback. Craft routes that best serve residents and address potential areas of concern.
As all communities in New York State continue to face the opioid epidemic the new 24/7 Stabilization Center that the county has opened is a tremendous first step. As Dutchess County residents we should be proud to be able to offer this service to those in need. This center can immediately treat those suffering from addiction. We should look to expand and create satellite centers in order to help residents easily and quickly throughout the county and ensure the center has all the resources it needs to be effective. Also, further the education of the opioid epidemic across the county and push for more prescription and medication take back participation at local pharmacies.
Again the 24/7 Stabilization Center should help in keeping those with mental illness out of jail and receiving services to address their needs. The new Justice and Transition Center that was approved in March 2016 will provide adequate facilities to house the county's inmates. It is important to expand Dutchess County's alternative to incarceration programs that help divert low risk offenders from the jail.
It is a balancing act to keep taxes low while still having the ability to invest in the county's infrastructure. The 2017 budget included 15.25 million dollars for repairs to county roads, bridges and culverts. Additionally, work with towns, villages and hamlets to assist them with shared services agreements in order to share in the use of expensive equipment and purchasing of necessary items such as road salt, etc. in larger quantities.
We should all work together to make proven programs more widely available to residents throughout the county. Invest in mental health training for our 1st responders to include Mental Health First Aid training. Continue to encourage our elected officials to focus on mental health and aid in removing the stigma of mental health through education and outreach with county level forums. Continue to support the 24/7 Stabilization Center which provides mental health assessments.
Ensure DCFS is user friendly to all those who rely on their services. The county will continue to effectively serve residents who rely on these programs keeping in mind that services are dictated from the state level.
Yes the county should encourage development of alternative energy sources. The county has already taken a number steps to promote alternative energy. This August the legislature passed a resolution that exempts solar energy and solar equipment from the county's sales tax. Additionally the legislature passed a resolution for the county to reduce the use of fossil fuels. The county fleet will now have 4 electric cars and 4 charging stations will be available for public use. With proper investment the county should look to expand the use of electric cars within it's fleet of vehicles.
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