On Tuesday, when you go to the polls, I ask that you consider voting for me to represent the Towns of Stanford, Milan, Pine Plains and North East in the Dutchess County Legislature. I believe I have the qualities and the character to serve our communities well and bring an independent voice to policy discussions in the county.
I have been a businessman in Millerton for over 40 years, operating a successful bookstore that has weathered the many challenges retail businesses in small towns have faced over these decades. By nature, I try not to waste resources and to make the best of what is presented to me. Over the years, I have been involved with the Millerton Merchants Assn. and have gained additional insight into what works and does not work in our local towns.
Since returning to Northern Dutchess after college, I have remained engaged in civic activities that I think have made a difference for folks. In the late 1970’s I helped lead the successful opposition to 765kw powerlines proposed through Milan and a large nuclear power plant proposed by Con Edison in Upper Red Hook. After those battles, I worked on trying to keep railroad service active to Millerton and when that effort failed, I helped launch the Harlem Valley Rail Trail Assn. to convert the old rail bed to a paved trail.
By any measure, the Harlem Valley Rail Trail, while still a work in progress, is a big regional success. It provides local people with a free recreational resource and attracts low impact visitors who discover the charms of our region. It is an example of how we can utilize our beautiful landscape to attract economic activity.
I served nine years on the Pine Plains School Board, including three as Board President. I currently serve on the Board of the Friends of the Irondale Schoolhouse, a group that brought that historic building into the heart of Millerton. As a hobby, I also do weekly folk/bluegrass radio shows on WKZE and Robin Hood Radio.
These interests and activities have kept me in touch with our communities in a variety of ways. As a bookstore owner alone, I know hundreds of people of all political stripes in this part of Dutchess and I am respectful of everyone’s views. I believe I am skilled at listening to people and formulating ideas that bring people together.
I would not have run for this office if I were not concerned about the state of democracy in 2017. Government needs to respond to the needs of all the people, not just the rich and influential, not just the Republicans or the Democrats. Until about 10 years ago I had been a lifelong voter with no party affiliation, though I grew up in a Republican family in Milan. I registered as a Democrat to give me a place to be more involved in the political process. That involvement has led to this campaign.
I want to serve all the people who live here and help make Dutchess County an even better place than it already is. I will work hard for you. Thank you for considering me on November 7th.