Sunday, April 15, 2018

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Assemblyman Skartados dies

Assemblyman Frank Skartados

NEWBURGH – State Assemblyman Frank Skartados died Sunday morning at St. Luke's Cornwall Hospital in Newburgh after suffering from pancreatic cancer. He was 62.

Skartados was the seventh of eight children. He was born on the Greek island of Astypalaia. He grew up on a small farm which he helped his father maintain. At age 14, on July 4, 1970, Frank arrived in New York City with his mother. Skartados graduated from George Washington High School in upper Manhattan.

He later worked in the restaurant industry and eventually owned one. His business savvy eventually allotted him the funds to educate himself at the State University of New York at New Paltz.

He graduated with honors and a degree in Political Science. At the same time, he worked at the Commandant’s Office of the New York Military Academy in Cornwall. Skartados went on to achieve a master's degree in International Studies at the State University of California at Sacramento. He later served an internship at the United Nations Center Against Apartheid.

For the next eight years he returned to the New York Military Academy to serve as chairman of the Health Department. He was also a teacher of Environmental Studies and American History. In 2000, Skartados abdicated his seat at the Military academy.

Since he has devoted his life to renovating properties in downtown Poughkeepsie, including building the Aegean Entertainment Center, the largest entertainment venue between Albany and New York City.

Skartados was a four-plus term state assemblyman who was first elected to serve on January 2009. He lost the seat two years later to Tom Kirwan, who previously held it for many years, by less than 20 votes. Frank regained the office in a special election held in March 2012, after Kirwan’s death, and has held it ever since.

Skartados’ district, the New York 104th, is in the Mid-Hudson Valley, and includes the cities of Newburgh, Beacon and Poughkeepsie and the towns of Newburgh, Marlborough and Lloyd.

Consequently he focused his energy on environmental threats including ship anchorages and the proposed Pilgrim Pipeline. In his first term in office (2009-10) he secured $6 million dollars to complete the Walkway Over the Hudson. After regaining his seat in the special election, he secured funds to build Hudson River connector trails in Lloyd, as seed money for a mixed use vehicular-trail bridge along the Hudson/Fishkill Creek in Beacon and two waterfront parks along the west bank of the river.

To ease the tax burden on municipalities and schools, Skartados secured millions of dollars in state grants to purchase fire trucks, police cars, anti-gun violence programs, snow plows, emergency vehicles, educational technology, school buses and hospital equipment and to make park improvements, fund workforce housing projects and other infrastructure, provide general aid to schools and build a new library.


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