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POLITICAL LETTERS: Deadline to submit letters endorsing candidates in the November 4 election is 11:59 pm Thursday, October 30.  All endorsement letters will be removed Monday evening, November 3. 

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End corruption in Albany: Vote for Rich Cocchiara

    The election this November is extremely important.  There have been many corruption scandals these past few years involving Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, the most powerful man in the State Legislature.  The only way to end this long-standing corruption is to elect new representatives to the State Legislature who are not beholden to Sheldon Silver and his cronies, and are willing to stand up to and vote against them.  The current incumbent in the 99th Assembly District, James Skoufis, is beholden to Sheldon Silver and the many thousands of dollars Silver’s Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee is spending to re-elect Skoufis.  We cannot, therefore, expect Skoufis to fight, or denounce Silver’s corruption, and Skoufis will support Silver’s efforts to continue as Speaker.

    What are the voters of this region to do?  Are we going to accept this corruption as ingrained and immutable, or are we going to start fighting against it.  I, for one, refuse to accept that this tradition of corruption is so deeply ingrained in New York politics that it cannot be rooted out.  That is why I am voting for Rich Cocchiara this November as our next Assembly representative from the 99th AD.  Rich is a person with integrity, as well as decades of business experience, and many years of local government service.  Unlike Skoufis, Rich will stand up to Sheldon Silver and demand that real change come to Albany.  But first he needs our votes.

Steven A. Kimmel
(October 30)


Supports Cocchiara

My father, Rich Cocchiara, is one of the two candidates for the 99th Assembly.  As his son, I can give a perspective of my father that many people would not know for themselves.  Rich Cocchiara is a very loving father and man.  He taught my sister, my brother and me the importance of giving back to the community.  From being involved in scouting, community clean ups, food drives and environmental conservation projects, my father showed us the importance of looking out for our neighbors and our future.

When I was child, I wondered why our town didn't have a park like towns around us.  My father saw the idea of a park as being a valuable investment to our future generations.  He worked with our town’s supervisor, clerk and other councilmen to build a park next to the Hamptonburgh Town Hall without raising taxes or taking out a single bond.  This pragmatic view is what we desperately need in Albany. 

When I think about graduating next year and the prospect of finding a job in New York, I am dismayed.  We are ranked the worst state to do business and simply put, we need someone in office who has grown business.  Luckily my father has worked in both the corporate sector and has run a small business in Orange County for nearly a decade.

Domenick Cocchiara
(October 30)


Supports Cocchiara

This November’s election is more important than ever for New York State.  There is a dangerous new proposed law sponsored by State Senator Rivera from The Bronx, and supported by Governor Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Sheldon, the mentor to local Assemblyman James Skoufis.  If Democrats win control of the Senate and Cuomo is re-elected Governor, Democrats plan on passing the “New York is Home” Act, which offers the most sweeping amnesty available in the USA to nearly 3 million noncitizens living in the Empire State, and to qualifying out-of-state illegal aliens who move to our state.   Illegal aliens in New York will qualify for billions in Medicaid and college tuition money, will qualify for driver’s licenses, will get to vote in state and local elections, and will even be allowed to run for office. 

    We cannot permit this.  This law will destroy New York’s current taxpayers, as it will cost us billions of additional dollars.  It enables more voter and entitlement fraud.  We must elect Rich Cocchiara to the Assembly to fight Speaker Silver on this proposed law; the State Senate must stay in Republican control, and we must elect Rob Astorino our next Governor.

Mark Levy
Salisbury Mills
(October 30)


Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

I am proud to have been one of the approximately 10,000 people actively participating in the recent Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event at Woodbury Common.  We worked hard to raise funds to battle breast cancer, and also to send a loud and clear message to our leaders in Albany and Washington, D.C., that we need their support to help people with cancer and those who may develop cancer.

I volunteer for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), which is the advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society.  My role at the event was to collect signatures on a letter that we will deliver to the governor asking him to allocate more of the funds gathered with New York State’s cigarette tax to help people quit smoking and to prevent others from starting.  Funding for the Tobacco Control Program has been cut in half in recent years, making it difficult to provide quality support to many who may become addicted or are currently addicted to this deadly habit.  The letter and message received enthusiastic support.  I even heard from a smoker who signed the letter because she really needed all the help she could get to quit smoking.  I hope the governor listens to the thoughts of the people who signed the letter.

Please help us bring our important messages to our government leaders.  Please go to www.acscan.org and join our fight.

Christine Walrad
New Windsor
(October 27)


Supports Maloney
I would like to urge all of my fellow voters in the 18th district to be sure to get out your vote this November 4th and to look deeply into the records of both Hayworth and Maloney in order to cast your vote.  Please look beyond attacks and lies in mailings and advertising and take the time to understand the records of both candidates. It is of utmost importance to vote intelligently as a concerned citizen and to know who  and why you vote  as you do.
There are important differences between the two candidates. My choice has been made by reading voting records as well as actions taken for our community. My choice is to vote against the tea party, those who mindlessly wish  to appeal Obama care and  support efforts to replace medicare and social security. Hayward voted to defund planned parenthood, and refuses to speak out for equal pay. Such radical right wing responses frighten me. To harp constantly for "small" government is in my view mindless and completely self serving.  Governments that have strong social networks, better health care, good infrastructure and care about the 99%, have thriving and happier populations. It is not hard to see the suffering , greed and exploitation occurring via the private sector  Hayworth so admires.
The incessant  mantra to "balance the budget" is a manipulated and phony issue  and obscures  US spending in the billions  on  more wars, weapons and the deadly war economy that brings in huge profits by sales of  killing machines.  Would you believe the US arms ISIS and other of our supposed enemies. War is a bleak business and reflects negatively on the health of our nation.
We hear once again the same tired attacks by Hayworth. For example, at the time of the  "Time-Warner " debate between the two candidates held on 10/3 at the Middletown High School: "It's very true that our cost of living and our opportunities, our middle class is being squeezed, we are losing jobs because Washington is inefficient and unfortunately our member of Congress, Congressman Maloney, has supported that very agenda," Hayworth's accusations are unjust,  empty , simplistic and distorted to manipulate and create confusion and get votes.  Can voters actually be so uninformed as to not question her statements? That Maloney supports the Affordable Care act, the first comprehensive plan to provide health care where formerly it has been denied, is used as to disparage him. Consider the alternatives with no oversight over exploitative insurance companies. "Out of touch elitist"
(wouldn't that include Hayworth herself?) and "hurting veterans and seniors"
are empty, simplistic  accusations meant to  confuse voters Please inform yourselves, vote for your interests and NOT against them. Sean Patrick Maloney is the better candidate! 

Lillian Rosengarten
Cold Spring
(October 27)


Nan Hayworth is no friend to Latino Community

Last week we received two mailers from Nan Hayworth that were race baiting, scapegoating and fear mongering against immigrants.  She accused Congressman Maloney of giving gifts to illegal immigrants; supporting amnesty which will open the door for them to get welfare benefits, free tuition and driver’s licenses.  These statements are absolutely false!  Immigrants come here to work and provide for their families – not for handouts.

Ms. Hayworth has used the Republican playbook of fear mongering and throwing ugly stuff out there to see what sticks.  She can’t win on the issues so she goes negative, and is trying to win ugly.

She owes the Latino and immigrant communities an apology; especially to her Latino volunteers on her campaign.

Instead of being inclusive, Nan is divisive.   This should prove once and for all that Nan lacks leadership skills, courage, ethics, integrity, and tolerance.  She is the type of person that we do not want in Congress representing us.    

The time is now! 

Vote for Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney on November 4th.   Congressman Maloney is a true friend of the Latino community.

Sonia Ayala
Town of Blooming Grove
(October 27)


Tuition Free NY: Dispelling Misconceptions and Presenting the Truth

Recently I’ve seen several articles in local newspapers heralding James Skoufis’s Tuition-Free NY as a solution that will pay for students’ college tuition.  But many people aren’t aware of all aspects of the bill and upon hearing them are wary of it.  So to clear up the misconceptions, here are the facts: any NY student may participate in Tuition-Free NY and have their SUNY or CUNY (only) tuition paid for if they complete 250 hours or 125 hours (as a STEM degree student) of community service every school year.  Following graduation, the student must remain in NY for at least five years longer as they must also be employed in NY for a sum total of five years.  Overall this program will require increasing taxes about $1.5 billion dollars, and any student that fails to meet the requirements will still owe the tuition amount.

That said, this is a bad plan for the students of NY.  Besides the cost to taxpayers, shackling students to NY following graduation is not in their best interests.  With the lack of good quality jobs available, what are students supposed to do, remain jobless or work for five years for minimum wage?  If anything, this may lead to many students being saddled with loans that they can’t afford.  To me, this is irresponsible legislation that would do more harm than good, and if we want to make college more affordable, then we should consider Rich Cocchiara’s student loan tax credit plan as a better alternative.

Matthew Sweet
(October 27)


Supports Cocchiara

As election day gets nearer, I’d like to share with you my thoughts about Rich Cocchiara, a candidate for the NY State Assembly in the 99th district.  My family and I moved to Orange county nearly 14 years ago, and one of our first friends was Rich and his family.  I consider myself privileged to know Rich, a man of integrity and honesty, a man who works with others, regardless of their affiliations, a man who is a leader while being a team player, a man who always considers others. 

Rich is a family man who has been married for more than 25 years, and with his wife Judy, raised three children.  He has tirelessly served his community as a town councilman for more than 10 years where his contributions helped keep taxes flat by expanding Hamptonburgh’s tax base.  He is a small business owner.  Rich has contributed countless hours to scouting, mentoring several boys as they worked toward the highest rank of Eagle Scout.  He is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys the many wonders of our district. And Rich has done all of this while building a successful career at IBM.

New York needs a leader who can work across the aisle, with members of all parties, to solve our daunting problems of high taxes, the flight of both our talented young and our senior citizens, someone who can create a job friendly environment, and fix our schools.  And we need someone we can be proud of, someone who will set an example of honesty and integrity, allowing us once again to be proud of our elected representative.

While I complement our current representative, Assemblymen James Skoufis, for being one of the youngest members of the Assembly, the 99th District needs a proven leader with a vast toolkit earned through years of hard work and experience to help us solve the staggering challenges we face.  Rich Cocchiara is that proven leader.  Instead of voting along party lines, take a moment to learn about both candidates, what they say, and more importantly, what they’ve accomplished.  Once you consider the past accomplishments and the future potential of each candidate, I’m sure you’ll agree,  Rich Cocchiara, should be your choice to represent us in Albany.  Please join me and vote for Rich on November 4th.

Jim Forsyth
(October 27)


Cornwall Library vote

The library of today forms a much different role than the one of borrowing books to read and returning them. Not only have technology advances required the use of computers and microfilm readers, but programs of education continue where the classroom left off.  These programs give young people the opportunity to learn in an exciting environment with visual aids provided by experts in the field of study. Adults can enrich their knowledge with speakers and teachers in any number of subjects.  The library index of our Cornwall Local has been a great help to those doing genealogical research as well as research in topics relating to business, school, sports, etc.  The Book Store is a bargain ad the Community Room is in constant use.

You might find programs such as these in other places, but you will surely pay a sum for the privilege.  The library allows all children and adults the advantage of enhancing their wisdom free of charge.  I am willing to pay my share so that others who may not have the chance to enjoy what our public library has to offer can do so.

Please vote YES for the Cornwall Library referendum on November 18, so the necessary improvements can be made for the benefit of the increased usage our library continues to have.

Colette Fulton
(October 23)


Kiryas Joel annexation a local issue?

Some claim that the Village of Kiryas Joel annexation movement is a local issue.  Yet I am confident that certain officials from the towns of Blooming Grove, Chester, Highland, Newburgh, Tuxedo and Warwick will beg to differ. 

Look at what happened in Rockland County and also look at the current financial state of their County government.  Our Sullivan County neighbors in the Village of Bloomingburg are in a similar fight trying to preserve their beautiful and quaint little village.  High density housing, unless the residents are financially self-sustaining and not dependent on any public assistance, is an expense to all of us.  This is clearly a county-issue because we all will pay.  I therefore applaud the efforts of the grassroots United Monroe organization.  Their fight is our fight too as this could very well happen in your backyard.

Orange County is claiming a huge deficit, just how large the deficit remains to be seen.  What kind of deficit will Orange County government encounter if Kiryas Joel were to double in population? 

Elected officials need to stand up and fight for all of us.  Do not sell us out for votes by turning a blind eye or a deaf ear.  Legislation needs to be enacted in Albany to ensure that the rules are being followed by all.  In spite of all the election year rhetoric, I believe that this annexation in its part, will be counterproductive to all the promises being made to make New York once again the Empire State.

Bill Werner
Port Jervis
(October 23)


Supports Stage

There could not be a more qualified candidate for FAMILY COURT JUDGE than Chris Stage in my opinion.  For almost 30 years she has passionately served in this court system in all areas of child protection as assistant county attorney.

I know Chris personally as a member of the Warwick lions Club where she served as president.   Under Chris’s direction there were many projects that focused on children and families in need.

Chris has the sensitivity plus the experience to be an outstanding FAMILY COURT JUDGE.  Members of all political parties should join me as we vote  for the most qualified individual .

Claire Gabelmann
(October 23)


Supports Cocchiara

This November, you have a real choice about who to elect to the 99th Assembly District.  You can choose to keep in office a person who supports the corrupt Assembly Speaker and Governor, or you can elect a long-time resident and family man who has dedicated his entire life to his community.  You can choose to keep in office someone who is good at only denouncing problems, or you can elect someone who will actually propose solutions and do the work to get this solutions passed. 

The incumbent might sound like he has our interests at heart, but Rich Cocchiara will be a leader in Albany to get New York out of the Obama/Cuomo “Common Core” education plan.  He will fight to stop higher property taxes being imposed on county and local governments by the state.  Cocchiara will work with new governor Rob Astorino, to reduce state income taxes, while balancing the budget by reducing excessive state spending.  As a sportsman and a pro-2nd Amendment advocate, he will seek repeal of the poorly named “SAFE” Act, and deny it funding a brand new useless bureaucracy, which is something the current incumbent won’t do.  Rich Cocchiara is the better choice.

Christopher Cummings
(October 23)


Supports Chcchiara

Beyond a doubt, Rich Cocchiara is by far the most qualified person running for New York State Assembly this year in the 99thDistrict. As a successful businessman, as a parent, as a volunteer in the community, and as a town councilman in Hamptonburgh, Rich Cocchiara has the experience we need in Albany. He exemplifies honesty, fairness, thoughtfulness, and practical solutions, and he will use those qualities to represent EVERYONE in the district with the voice and the vigor needed to fight against the corrupt politicians in Albany, especially those politicians like Sheldon Silver. We need to lower the taxes and stop the wasteful spending in Albany that cause many people and businesses to leave the New York State and our district. We need people in Albany who are willing to work towards solutions and not just demagogue about the problems. All the towns in Orange and Rockland counties represented in the 99th District need Rich Cocchiara in Albany. But first, he needs you. Support his campaign. Tell your friends about him. Visit his website, call his headquarters, and come meet Rich Cocchiara at the local candidate forums before the general election. And then vote for Rich Cocchiara this November!

Charles Fernandez
(October 23)


Supports Stage

I would like to recommend Christine Stage for Orange County Family Court Judge.   I have worked with Chris for more than twenty years in the child welfare system. Chris has worked as an Assistant County Attorney for thirty years in Orange County Family Court, where she has prosecuted child abuse and neglect cases.  Chris has a thorough  knowledge  of  Family Court laws and policies; she is hard working and committed to her job.   Chris has an understanding of what is at stake for the families of Orange County.  For thirty years, Chris has been committed to the safety of our children.   I know Chris to be honest, fair, hardworking, smart and capable.   In her employment and her personal life she is committed to doing what is right.   The families of Orange County will be well served by her presence on the bench.   She can be trusted to make sound decisions.    Please join me in voting for Christine Stage for Orange County Family Court Judge.       

Donna Calvario
Port Jervis
(October 23)


Stage for Family Court judge

I have had the pleasure of working closely with Asst District Attorney, Christine Stage, for over 10 years, while I was a caseworker in the Children’s Services division of the Dept of Social Services.  As a skillful and caring attorney, Ms. Stage showed a strong grasp of the laws used in Family Court, a clear understanding of the psycho-social dynamics within families, and was able to work with a balance of these qualities to seek solutions within troubled families, that helped protect the children while giving parents the opportunity to correct their behaviors. She knew when to be firm, and when to give parents and children a second chance.

Christine Stage has the necessary combination of knowledge, skills, thoughtful temperament and experience, to serve effectively as FAMILY COURT JUDGE, and has my full support and Vote.

John F. Austin
(October 20)


Supports Figueroa

Juan Figueroa is the Democratic candidate for Plattekill Town Justice.
He is a retired state police investigator who also served in the Marine Corps having been deployed overseas.

With deep roots in the Town of Plattekill community, Juan Figueroa is committed to a system of justice that is fair to all if elected Town Judge in the November election.

Every individual in our society has a right to Equal Justice. Regardless of race, gender, poor, middle class or rich; you have the expectation of fairness. This quality is what Juan Figueroa will bring to the bench-- impartial fairness and the findings will be in the interest of Justice.
In addition, he will identify issues, research the Law and make decisions that will assure your rights will be preserved. Moreso; he has the utmost respect for the Judiciary and the importance of the rule of Law. The protection of individual rights, and the proper enforcement of the Law is the key to an independent and fair Town Justice.  If elected, Juan Figueroa understands the tremendous burden and impact he will have on lives.

I, as a member of the Ulster County Democratic Committee, recommend the election of Juan Figueroa to the office of Plattekill Town Justice on November 4th.

Dan Conna
(October 19)


Blooming Grove budget

The proposed 2015 budget for the Town of Blooming Grove projects a tax increase on town residents of almost four per cent and nothing to show for it. A prime example is the budget for the town's recreation program. The projected expenditures (which are usually paid by fees charged by the program) for 2015 are the same as in 2014. No commitment to new programming or expansion of existing programs or staff. In fact the Town Supervisor is rumored to be attempting to reduce the amount of indoor space currently available for programming.

In contrast, the Town of Wallkill recently celebrated the opening of a new indoor facility in their town to accommodate more indoor winter programming. Instead of trying to "pinch pennies" by cutting existing facilities the town board members in Wallkill completed a plan to increase their indoor space and the opportunities for young people to have more recreation available to them in the winter months.

It's time the residents of Blooming Grove demanded more from their elected officials than just raising taxes every year and then sitting on their hands and doing nothing to enhance services to the public. Next year we need to concentrate on electing people to the town board who will show some leadership and initiative. You hire accountants to keep the books and pay the bills. You elect public officials to provide leadership to help the community grow and prosper.

Larry Delarose
(October 19)


Supports Stage

There is a candidate for Family Court Judge that deserves your consideration…regardless of your political affiliation!  Christine Stage has the experience, credentials, passion and clear judicial vision to be your choice at the ballot box.  Chris is clearly the most qualified candidate based on her 30 years of experience, being a devoted servant representing the Orange County Department of Social Services, joining the Abuse/Neglect unit in 1989 and becoming supervisor of this unit in 2008, handling 15 to 20 cases per week in Family Court.  Her vast experience IN these courtrooms means that she has seen it all…experience no other candidate can claim.

Please get out to vote in this election and I hope that you will join me in supporting Christine Stage on November 4th for Orange County Family Court Judge; THE most qualified candidate!”

Garrett W. Durland, CIC
(October 19)


Supports Gipson

As a lifelong environmentalist, I can hardly believe the distortions and outright lies spewed by candidate Sue Serino about State Senator Terry Gipson!

One could hardly ask for a government representative more committed to the issues of
environmental funding and support for the DEC, banning of hydrofracking in NYState,
shutting down the aging nuclear power plants at Indian Pt..an evergrowing danger in the entire 50 mile radius of the plant—and so much more that he is acutely aware of, if we are to survive in this period of increasing climate change with all that it portends.

On all these issues, State Senator Terry Gipson has voted for a sustainable future for us and our children, while Sue Serino has taken a consistently negative posture…ready to gut the DEC(Department of Environmental Conservation), supporting fracking which has already devastated many lives in the Hudson Valley region, and has generally taken positions given to her by the Republican party which undermine every environmental advance.  And Terry Gipson is so strong on protecting our environment..which means protecting families and children…that he has been judged to have a perfect record by Environmental Advocates. And that must be seen as an important judgment  to people in this district.

It is important to me to mention other vital issues on which Terry Gipson has taken a strong and critical stand—supporting the Women’s Equality Act and a woman’s right to choose; raising the minimum wage; supporting firearms background checks; supporting campaign finance reform so that money is not the determinant of who runs our government and makes decisions for  us….and Sue Serino is not supporting any of this!
Her attacks on State Senator Terry Gipson have proved totally unfounded and vicious.

I urge all readers to be sure to vote on November 4th as if your future in NYState depends on it…and reelect Terry Gipson as our State Senator once again!

Connie Hogarth
(October 14)


“Orange county's budget will be cut by 20% come January 2015”.

 When I heard Orange County Executive Neuhaus utter these words I realized tougher times were ahead.  Since moving to Orange County 14 years ago, I have seen my business income go down while school taxes and "for sale "signs increase annually.  My town property taxes however have remained the same, and I credit this to the foresight and tough choices made by the Hamptonburgh town board under the leadership of Rich Cocchiara.

    Times have been hard for everyone the last few years, and they are going to become a lot harder come January.  The 99th Assembly District, and Orange County, need an Assemblyperson with experience and determination to stand up for us in Albany.  Like  many voters I have let incumbents slide as long as they were not under criminal investigation.  However, since I plan to live out my days in Orange County I will be voting November, not for a Democrat or a Republican, but for a man I know will get things done. 

That man is Rich Cocchiara.

    For the sake of our future I hope you will get out and cast a vote for Orange County.

Michael Mckiernan
Campbell Hall
(October 14)


Supports Cocchiara

    I am writing to express my support for Rich Cocchiara’s election to the 99th Assembly District.   I’ve known Rich both personally and professionally for the last 11 years and have always found him to be a person of the highest integrity who gets things done. In other words, if he says he will do something, you can count on it.  As Scoutmaster of Troop 416 in Washingtonville and subsequently as the troop’s Eagle Scout coordinator, Rich taught many boys about leadership, character, service, and citizenship.  He continues to be a merit badge counselor for Citizenship in the Community, fishing, and a number of others. Under Rich’s leadership my two sons as well as both of his sons and many other boys aspired to and achieved scouting’s highest rank of Eagle.

    Rich is an avid outdoorsman who will fight to repeal the Safe Act because he knows that it hurts those who choose to legally exercise their Second Amendment rights and does nothing to take illegal guns out of the hands of criminals.  Rich has revealed the truth and poked holes in his opponent’s Tuition Free New York plan.  Rich points out that it’s not free; the proposal will in fact cost taxpayers billions, and it actually limits career opportunities by forcing those who accept the proposal to remain in New York State for at least 5 years.  Rich has proposed a better plan that will incentivize businesses in New York to hire recent college graduates; a plan which will help those graduates to pay their often daunting college loans, and will cost the taxpayers nothing!

    Rich has served for twelve years on the Town Board of Hamptonburgh, the town in which my family and I have lived for 25 years.  We have not seen a town tax increase during his entire tenure, in part because of his fiscal responsibility and oversight. Yet, we enjoy beautiful amenities in our town such as a brand new town park.  As a retired executive of IBM and a small business owner, Rich knows how to balance budgets and make prudent business decisions.

    Rich will bring his leadership talent, business acumen, and integrity to Albany if we elect him on November 4th.  Please give Rich your support as I am.

Bob Burbridge
Campbell Hall
(October 14)


Dutchess County Airport

Dutchess County Airport (DCA) is an asset and a key transportation resource with considerable economic benefit to Dutchess County.  While the airport has operated at a deficit for many years, there are very positive signs that it has turned the corner.

Last month, the County Legislature voted on a resolution 2014202 authorizing the County to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) to hire an outside vendor to manage the airport. As a 3-year member of the Airport Advisory Committee, whose purpose is to analyze and evaluate the future use and development of the DCA to assist the County Legislature in its decision-making process, I am concerned that the County is rushing this process without input from both the Committee and those citizens who live near the airport.    

A feasibility study conducted in 2013 did not include the increase in revenues from gas sales at the airport. And the financial numbers used in the study were not up to date.  Allowing a private Fixed Base Operator (FBO) to operate our airport could have very negative effects on its operation.  Using other nearby airports as examples, anytime a monopoly exists, the users are not well served. Prices rise and service falls.

Selling the airport is not a viable option.  According to the 1947 deed signed with U.S. War Assets Administrator, selling the airport outright requires a vote by Congress permitting us to do so.  It would require us to pay back millions in FAA grant money since Airport Improvement Program funds require an airport to remain so for 20 years from receipt.

It is important to remember that many other modes of transportation used in Dutchess County require subsidies; rail, roads and buses to name a few.  What is important to note is the airport’s trend for self-sustainability in the short term. Fuel loads have increased because of competitive pricing. Hangar space should be expanded and can be done with private investment, but only with the addition of municipal water to the field. An investment in the water system would lead to an increase in economic activity more quickly than any other single issue and has already been approved by the state through a consolidation funding application.

I am not convinced that bringing in an FBO will significantly improve the financial status of the airport nor do I believe that privatization is the proper response, especially when the County has not proven that outsourcing equates to improved financial outcomes hence the Stadium and the Loop Transit System.  Additionally, outsourcing will make it more difficult for residents to obtain timely resolutions to issues that arise.

The feasibility report is a wonderful tool to add to the Airport Master Plan, the Airport Business Plan and the DPW Ten-Year Special Report.  We must not solely rely on the feasibility study which is why, moving forward, I ask the legislature to become fully informed on the consequences of outsourcing the airport and consider hiring an independent aviation attorney as a checks and balance to the executive branch similar to when we go over our yearly budget reviews.

Francena Amparo
Dutchess County Legislator - Dist. 14
(October 14)


Supports Maloney

I went to the Hayworth/Maloney Debate in Middletown.   This is what I saw and heard.  Hayworth behaved like the “junk yard dog, vicious and attacking!”  Maloney was dignified, professional, informative, articulate and right on point.  Hayworth repeated the same political sound bits for every question; “Congressman, you support the agenda of former Speaker Pelosi and Obama and the Affordable Care Act and that is the cause of every ill facing America and the Hudson Valley and I will fight to oppose it as I did when I was Congresswoman.”  

Maloney responded calmly, effectively and with facts: “ I am among the most Independent Democrats in Congress and I have worked across the isle with Republican colleagues to pass 13 pieces of legislation to your one, Congresswoman,  . . . you, “Dr. Hayworth,” voted repeatedly to privatize Social Security, turn Medicare into a Voucher program, and fought against Wall Street and Banking reform; you support tax breaks for the millionaires and billionaires at the expense of the Middle and Working Classes.  

Maloney cited his many legislative initiatives to promote the economy, help college kids reduce college loans, the farm bill and more.  Maloney gets my vote; he deserves your vote too!

Randy Hurst
Slate Hill
(October 14)


Supports Cocchiara

    Please vote for Rich Cocchiara for the NYS 99th Assembly District this general election.  Rich is an experienced local legislator who excels in reducing wasteful government spending and balancing budgets without any gimmicks.  His hometown has not raised their property taxes while he has been in office these past 12 years.  Rich is well-known in the district for his volunteer work, and he will help our business community grow in order to make this region a place that people want to work and reside, not a place to flee due to high taxes and political corruption.  He will help change Albany by challenging Governor Cuomo and Speaker Sheldon Silver’s ethically-challenged leadership.

    Rich Cocchiara believes the top priority of the state government should be to make it easier for everyone to find and keep good jobs, and for everyone to keep more of their money to invest and spend as they wish, by lowering ALL the taxes we are forced to pay due to Albany’s misguided leaders.  He is also against forcing unfunded mandates on local entities which force our property taxes to skyrocket.  If you want more honest people in government, then vote for Rich Cocchiara, like I will be.

Geralynne McKiernan
(October 14)


Enough is Enough

The unbelievable saga of the Orange County Government Center continues with no real end in sight.  We have lost count of the number of endless debates, studies and plans that our Legislature has undertaken since it was “temporarily” closed over 3 years ago. In fact, the Legislature has voted to rebuild and expand the building but, not surprisingly, has not followed through.

Now our Legislature has yet another new plan.  They want to sell the building. Life does not happen in vacuum as the Legislature seems to believe that it does.  Their ineffective decision-making and complete disregard for their respectful and gracious host community has caused the Village of Goshen to suffer far too much.

So as you yet again debate the fate of the Government Center, we would remind you and any potential buyer to carefully review the zoning laws of the Village of Goshen, which you can find in our Village Code on our website at http://www.villageofgoshen-ny.gov.  It is in an Office/Business zone. We suggest that the zoning laws be incorporated into any potential RFP so that any prospective buyer understands what can or cannot be built on the land.  There will be no housing, no mixed use and no use that will compete with our already struggling downtown businesses.

We are gravely concerned that the proposed RFP will only result in additional significant delays and more stumbling blocks. Bidders will have months to submit their bids and then there will undoubtedly be a lengthy review process by consultants and experts. All of this will need to occur before the Legislature even begins their own review.  This will certainly be followed by even more debate while the Village of Goshen continues to suffer.  There is no guarantee that any of the bids will present a viable use of the building which will only serve to bring us back to square one. Enough is enough.

Now is the time for our Legislature to show the residents of the Village and all residents of Orange County that it has the ability to follow through and to stop sending the message that they simply vote for sake of voting.  Rebuilding and expanding the building provides the best alternative to predominately preserve the architecture of the building while providing the additional space that is needed to consolidate the County Government under one roof, including additional courtrooms as mandated by the Office of Court Administration. Stop the endless debating and grandstanding.  Show us that you can actually lead.

Edward Char, Deputy Mayor, Village of Goshen and Kyle Roddey, Mayor, Village of Goshen
(October 6)


Supports Gipson

I am alarmed by Sue Serino’s cavalier attitude toward civil rights. At a Tea Party meeting in June, Serino was asked for her opinion about the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), specifically the use of public restrooms. She responded by saying such a law would allow a man, masquerading as a woman, to stalk a young girl or insist upon showering in a women’s locker room. Serino is either pandering to the fears of the uninformed or is ignorant of basic facts.

The facts: Seventeen states and the District of Columbia and over 160 cities and counties have passed laws that protect the rights of transgender people. Illinois and Iowa recognize transgender rights as do Kansas City and Indianapolis. In none of these jurisdictions have predators used such laws to stalk women and children in public restrooms. Polls show that 75% of New Yorkers favor passage of GENDA, yet Senator Skelos has refused to allow the bill out of committee for consideration on the Senate floor, even though the Assembly has passed the bill seven times.

My transgender daughter struggled through a decade of under employment and was denied a position because she was “not a good fit” despite being highly qualified. She has left New York for a state that recognizes her as a full citizen.

According to Serino, we must continue to discriminate against transgender people in order to protect our children. What nonsense! If we want responsible representation in Albany, we need to vote for Terry Gipson. 

Rex Butt
(October 6)


Supports Eldridge

I am voting for Sean Eldridge for Congress in the 19th District.

Since Reagan’s nonexistent “Welfare Queen” in the 1980’s and Romney’s “47 percent” comments in the last presidential election the Republican Party has sought to unfairly demonize poor people, the unemployed, and the foreign born despite record levels of income inequality.  In my view it has lost its moral compass and its intellectual core.  That trend, supported by Chris Gibson, continues today. A majority of House and Senate Republicans (including Gibson) have rejected an increase in the minimum wage, the Equal Pay Act which would help women achieve parity in the work place, and comprehensive immigration reform. They continue attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  These policies are designed to reduce the gross inequities in income distribution which exist today.  They would also be good for the economy helping to raise people out of poverty and creating jobs.  The House passed Farm Bill which Gibson supported and was rejected by the Senate would have cut four million people from the Food Stamp (SNAP) program including some of the nation’s most destitute according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

I’m tired of the less fortunate being scapegoated by the Republican Party, which is why I’m voting for Sean Eldridge for Congress.

Al Ragucci
(October 6)


Oil Trains: A Disaster Waiting to Happen

Railroad workers call them "bomb trains" and they pass through our towns and villages every day. Trains carry Bakken crude oil from North Dakota and other hazardous chemicals over the rail lines located along the Hudson River using DOT-111 tanker cars notably passing through New Windsor, Cornwall, Highlands, and Stony Point. Compared to several other leading types of crude oil, Bakken crude oil is volatile, highly flammable, toxic and corrosive. As someone who spent his career helping to mitigate the impact of disasters, I’m concerned with the danger of this crude oil leaking or igniting and causing destruction in the event of a train derailment. It is a reality that can’t be ignored, especially when there is evidence of such instances occurring. Over this past year alone there were four derailments in the US and Canada resulting in loss of life, explosion or oil spills.

What can be done to make sure such a disaster never occurs in our community? The Association of American Railroads (AAR) has pressed the owners of DOT-111 cars, including oil companies, to retrofit existing cars with additional safety features. But this may not be enough because even with improvements to these train cars, the chance of a spill and explosion during a derailment is still very high. If elected to the NY State Assembly, I will push for the following solutions:

1. Sponsor legislation banning all non-retrofitted DOT-111 tanker cars carrying Bakken crude oil from New York railroads traveling through heavy residential areas.
2. Advocate for a new train tanker car that is designed from the ground up to avoid exploding or rupturing during a derailment. Oil companies who profit from shipping their product through this region should share in the cost of a new tanker car design that will address the underlying safety issues.
3. Utilize existing technology that can provide information on the contents of each rail car as it enters a town and make that information available to local fire departments immediately when responding to a train derailment.
4. Provide state funding for creating town/village disaster mitigation plans and enhanced training of fire departments on train derailment response.

Taken together, these modest proposals would safeguard our community against an unfortunate event. Unlike career politicians who simply complain about a problem, I believe in understanding the issues and creating common sense solutions.

Rich Cocchiara
Candidate for New York State Assembly
(October 6)


Supports Chcchiara

Retirees are leaving New York in record numbers due to the expensive cost of living here, especially when you consider this state’s high tax burden.  We suffer a substantial economic loss for the state and region due to this migration.  Consumer spending of all that pension, Social Security, and Medicare money is now being spent elsewhere.

I know that some retirees leave here due to the winter weather.  Years ago the ‘Snowbirds’ usually spent most of the year here, and just a few months in Florida or similar locations.  My parents, who were lifelong New Yorkers, are an example of ‘Snowbirds’ that made the difficult decision of leaving their family and New York State behind and permanently relocating to Florida.  This decision was made because they could not afford the ridiculous property taxes, as well as the significant bite that New York State takes on most pension income, which is taxed much less, if it is taxed at all, by other states.

We need to elect new responsible leaders to Albany that will fix this problem, and make New York a state people want to live in during their retirement years.  Rich Cocchiara is someone I have known for years, and he is a life-long resident of the region, who will work hard to change the tax laws and the bad regulations that force people of all age groups to leave NY for economic reasons.  He is a home owner who has raised his family here; he is business man, and a long-time community volunteer.  I support Rich Cocchiara, and I will vote for him for the NYS Assembly in November.  I hope you do too.

Karen Porta
Campbell Hall
(October 6)


Dutchess County Jail Workgroup

We are concerned that the meetings of the Special Populations Workgroup established by the County Executive to plan for the new jail remain closed to the public.  This is the most critical workgroup to provide a foundation for reducing recidivism and ultimately the number of individuals housed at the jail.  No credible explanation has been provided for closing the meetings.

Since 2008, the number of social workers at the jail has been reduced from three to one.  People in the transitions program receive significantly less counseling.  Allocating only $150,000 of the projected savings from bringing the offenders back to Dutchess County to programs suggests a lack of genuine commitment to reform.

We believe that during this planning time, every effort should be made to find effective treatments for people with mental illness and/or substance abuse issues, and to reduce the steadily increasing length of stay, which has cost taxpayers millions without any quantifiable increase in public safety.  If programs are working, expand them.  If new programs are needed, start them.  Review the entire process from arrest to sentencing and work with the police and the courts to keep low-risk offenders out of jail in the first place. 

The size might be smaller and the configuration of a new jail facility might be different if such a plan is followed, resulting in both more enlightened treatment of offenders and a significant saving for Dutchess County taxpayers.  Open meetings and public involvement are critical.

Janet Reagon
President, Dutchess Democratic Women’s Caucus
(October 6)


Supports Gipson

I always believed that our former NYS state senator Stephen Saland was an honorable and dedicated legislator who represented our interests well.  In 2012 our district elected a new person to represent us in the state Senate, Terry Gipson.  I am very impressed with the job that Sen. Gipson is doing.  His energy level and dedication is equal to that of former Sen. Saland.

As a parent of a son who is developmentally disabled, I am most concerned with services for the DD population.  In 2013, the GOP majority in the state senate put forth a budget that called for a $90 million cut in funding for the Office of Persons with Developmental Disabilites (OPWDD).  The cuts would have been devastating to the many local non-profit agencies that care for our special population.

I contacted Sen. Gipson who welcomed and hosted countless advocates from our community in the Capitol and joined them in opposing the cuts.  Thanks to his efforts our voices were heard and a bipartisan compromise restored the funding. 

Actions speak louder than negative and misleading campaign mailers. Sen. Gipson works very hard on behalf of those he serves.  He is the best choice for our community.

Al Marotta
Hopewell Junction
(October 6)


Supports Chcchiara

The Republican Primary for Family Court Judge was won by only two votes.  This is a prime example that YOUR VOTE REALLY DOES MATTER!  It is extremely important for every registered voter to exercise their right to vote.  It could be the difference to who wins the election. 

New York State is ranked high in taxes paid but low in job growth.  Recently, mortgage site Bankrate.com ranked New York State as the worst state to retire, because of its high taxes, its high cost-of-living, and its health care system becoming less affordable and more unavailable.  We need to start taking back New York, one district at a time.  We need to elect candidates such as my husband, Rich Cocchiara, who has been a problem solver throughout his working career.  New York State needs people with common sense ideas who have real solutions and will not just lead rallies.  He knows how to balance budgets in both business and in local town politics as one of the councilpersons in Hamptonburgh.  Rich has the qualities and experience needed to be your next NYS Assemblyperson.

Take it from the Primary - YOUR VOTE REALLY DOES MATTER!  Vote for change.  Vote for a better New York.  Vote for Rich Cocchiara on November 4th for the 99th Assembly District.    

Judy Cocchiara
(October 6)



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