COUNTY BOARD OF REPRESENTATIVES, DISTRICT 4
Syracuse University College of Law: JD.
Muhlenberg College: BA.
Stamford Central School: Regents Diploma
My first job was working at the Boy Scout camp in Milford. After College I volunteered in Americorps, working in the Catskills to build parks and trails, provide education, and offer disaster relief. Next, as a Child Protective Caseworker I worked to help many of our struggling neighbors in the Delaware County DSS in Delhi. In law school, I volunteered with Vera House in Onondaga Family Court helping victims of domestic violence secure orders of protection.
After law school, I took and passed the NYS Bar Exam and after commuting from Oneonta to a law firm in Stamford for several years, I opened my law office in the City of Oneonta in 2011. My legal work has led me to advocate for clients across New York in Town and County Courts, 3 of the 4 Appellate Divisions, and the United States District Court NDNY. I provide affordable representation, pro bono work, and accept the assignment of many indigent local clients.
Since 2012, I have also been an administrator at SUNY Oneonta, acting to resolve conflict and be a resource to employees and students, ensuring compliance with State and Federal law. In that role I have also engaged in institutional strategic planning and led the effort to create or update several College procedures and policies, particularly around Title IX and sexual misconduct issues. I work closely with survivors/victims of sexual assault to uphold their rights and hold perpetrators accountable.
From a young age my parents showed me the importance of community service and I have been active in various groups ever since. In Stamford I was active in school, Church, and Scouting. In Oneonta I am a member of the Oneonta Rotary Club, and previously chaired the Youth Exchange Program. I also have served on the Board of Orpheus Theatre, the Board of Directors of the ARC Otsego and have held membership or volunteered with many other local groups including the Otschodela Council BSA, Oneonta Family YMCA, Otsego County Chamber of Commerce, the Hanford Mills Museum, and the West Kortright Center.
I’m grateful to continue community service and improvement through local government, first as an Oneonta Town Councilman and Deputy Supervisor for two years and now County Representative for Oneonta.
FAMILY: Married, no children. My extended family lives locally in Oneonta, Stamford, and Harpersfield.
PHILOSOPHY OF GOVERNMENT:
In a representative democracy, an elected official’s first priority needs to be representing the interests of ALL of their constituents, regardless of party. Our government has recently been corrupted by the influence of corporate and other big money special interests who try to buy special treatment. We must not allow that to happen here. The interests of our residents must always come first.
It’s easy to be frustrated with all we see in government. But we must retain our optimism, even in this cynical age. Albany and Washington won’t change overnight but we can deliver here at home. Government can be proactive and forward looking and do big things. But that requires thoughtful representatives and citizen involvement. Let’s all work together to reform our government and deliver progress.
MAJOR ISSUES FACING OTSEGO COUNTY:
- Economic Development: Let’s create a 21st Century economy. We increased investment in roads, bridges, sewer and water and pushed for additional funding for energy infrastructure, broadband and cellular. On the Town Board we approved the first Comprehensive Plan since the 1990’s and we just approved the County’s first Strategic Prioritization Plan. These actions are setting the stage for thoughtful development moving forward. We should also repair our relationship with Otsego Now and develop intentional job training for the well-paying jobs of the future.
- Environment: On the Town Board, we proved our economy can grow while we also protect our environment and quality of life. We banned fracking, protected property rights and preserved clean public water. At the County we completed a large solar farm, supplying most of our government’s power and saving taxpayers.
- Public Safety: 85% of residents approve of our current fire protection. Commissioners and the City must negotiate civilly, agree to a reasonable contract, and support our professional firefighters. And with the Opiate crisis, the County is in a position to coordinate a comprehensive local strategy and must.
- Taxes: I voted against all Town property tax increases, proposing cuts and voting against some budgets. Otsego County expanded bed and sales tax from tourists, allowing us to balance the budget and stay under the tax cap. The Treasurer reports it’s the healthiest budget in a decade.
- Gov’t Reform: Too many politicians focus on personal gain, partisan politics and name calling. Let’s instead be ethical and cooperative. I do not accept corporate campaign money and reject all county health insurance, retirement, and travel reimbursement. On the Bi-partisan Reform Caucus we’ve pushed for an ethics board and nepotism policy. We voted to record meetings and reschedule to evenings to create transparency, accountability, and public participation. Our bi-partisan effort is now one vote short of electing new County leadership and real change.
MY QUALITIES: As a Town Councilman and County Representative I have endeavored to be transparent, ethical and accountable to the people I represent. This requires extensive and thoughtful dialogue. To encourage communication, I knock on doors, hold open houses and attend Town Board meetings. I write editorials in our papers and maintain an official Facebook page and website.
My background as an attorney provides a good knowledge of the law and policy and the ability to problem solve and zealously advocate for my clients (our residents). I try to approach every issue with an open mind and not a partisan or ideological one. Our complex issues require the thoughtful balancing of various competing interests. My experience at SUNY Oneonta has allowed me to improve my skills in navigating and resolving conflict and engaging in strategic institutional planning for the future.
Personally, I also try to be calm, civil, and thoughtful in discussions, particularly with those who disagree with me. Disagreements about policy and process are acceptable but personal attacks and name calling are not. I am not a grudge holder and am able to let go and move on from previous disagreements without holding personal animus.
Four years ago, I ran for office because our Town Board was not representing the people. We’ve seen the same problem with the County. Too many politicians have forgotten who they serve. I promise to always place our residents first and to ignore the parties, personal, and special interests. We must work together to make our government transparent, ethical, and accountable. Politicians are not a “special class” and are not above the law. Let’s see a return to public service and deliver real results for the people.
It has been a privilege and honor representing our Town and I’m asking for your support again this year because the work is not yet done. We may not be able to fix all the problems right away in Washington and Albany but we can make a real positive change locally. Progress starts here.