ONEONTA – Four candidates are vying for the Democratic nomination to two seats on Common Council in tomorrow’s primary election. Polls will be open noon-9 p.m. at Foothills. Click below for questionnaires provided by the four candidates:
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Restaurateur, Managing Real Estate Broker Associate, Marketing Director
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Board Member Franklin Stage Company, CANO
PHILOSOPHY OF GOVERNMENT: Simple: Promote healthy growth and and ensure public safety.
MAJOR ISSUES FACING OTSEGO COUNTY: Our county has not seen growth commensurate with our resources, which indicates, to me, a lack of imagination, a lack of ambition, a failure to coordinate or a bit of all of the above.
MY QUALITIES: I have been successful at understanding how things work, avoiding wasteful behavior and devoting focussed effort on the important factors that drive results.
STATEMENT: The day you are elected, you not only represent the party that got you there, but you also represent the people that voted against you. I, like many of us are sickened by the partisan divide in our politics and in our country. We need leadership over mere partisan representation to end this division and get things done. Any venture in which 50% of the people don’t trust and admire the leadership is certain to fail.
COMMUNITY OF RESIDENCE: City of Oneonta District 12
EDUCATION: Allegheny College; University of Texas at Austin
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: I began my career as a writer for a newspaper in Texas. After a few years there and as an editor in Tennessee, we moved to Oneonta to raise our family. Once here, taught for ten years at SUNY Oneonta as well as, on occasion, at Hartwick College. I wrote for the Daily Star both as a reporter and as a columnist. My freelance work has appeared in national publications. Currently, I work as a writer and editor in the SUNY Oneonta Alumni Engagement Office.
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Girls on the Run Coach, UUSO Board of Trustees
FAMILY: Married for 24 years to Scott Segar. We have two kids: Madeline, 15, and Cormac, 12.
PHILOSOPHY OF GOVERNMENT: “We All do Better When We All Do Better” As much as I’d like to claim that quote as my own, those words were said by Senator Paul Wellstone from Minnesota. When I first heard them, I knew that they summed up the purpose of government. Both as a community and individually, we are only as strong as those around us. It’s up to us to figure out how to ensure equal access for all to decent healthcare, quality education, and living wage jobs. That’s not easy, of course. The first step is creating an accessible and accountable county government that transparently represents all of Otsego county’s citizens.
MAJOR ISSUES FACING OTSEGO COUNTY: Otsego county has an embarrassment of riches, from its dairy farms to its higher education. Yet, as a county, we seem to be stagnating. We are too reliant on the same old leadership that talks a good game but isn’t able to get points on the board. If the county board is making great strides in supporting our business community, protecting our health care, and training a 21st century workforce, it is not transparent enough to show us how it is doing that.
MY QUALITIES: The bulk of my job at SUNY Oneonta is producing the alumni magazine, a three-times per year publication that is mailed to more than 60,000 readers. In order to make that happen, I have to have a deep understanding of schedules, deadlines, and budgets, as well as the ability to co-ordinate all of the parts that need to come together to make it happen. A big part of being a professional writer is also being a professional learner, meaning that I have to understand all of an idea, plan, or policy before I can communicate what it is and what it will do. After a couple of decades in this business, I’m pretty good at asking questions until something makes sense.
STATEMENT: My husband and I chose to live in Oneonta nearly 15 years ago and have never once regretted that decision. This has been a wonderful community in which to raise our kids, grow our careers, and, most recently, move other family members. We’re here for the long haul — and I want this county to thrive in ways that benefit us all.
AAS in Fire Science, Corning Community College, Corning, NY
(42) National and/or NYS Certified course materials
United States Air Force: 1983-1987 ( Active) & 1990-1992 (Reserve)
Owner of Construction Technology: 1990-2000
City of Oneonta Fire Department: 1989-2015 (Call, PT, Provisional, Career)
NYS Fire Service Instructor: 2008-2015
Co-owner of DCMarketing: 2011-present
Otsego County Board Representative: 2016-present
Scout Leader with Troop 23: 1988-1992
City of Oneonta Pee Wee Football: 1996-2004
City of Oneonta Little League Baseball: 2000-2002
City of Oneonta Airport Commission: 2012-present
American Legion Oneonta Post 259: 2010-present
-Commander of Post 259: 2011-present
Otsego County American Legion Boys State Chairman-2015-present
City of Oneonta Memorial Day Parade Chairman: 2013-present
Wife, Dellene Carson
Joshua & Octavia Carson
PHILOSOPHY OF GOVERNMENT:
To provide an egalitarian environment for its people, by being small, nimble and providing a business-friendly environment. By doing so, our communities will grow, prosper and provide the services that they need.
MAJOR ISSUES FACING OTSEGO COUNTY:
Lack of Economic Development- from creating more of an opportunity for our existing businesses to attracting others. We need to strengthen our partnership with Otsego Now and our NYS Representatives by open communications focusing on a single vision.
Unfunded mandates from New York State Government
–Medicaid, NYS DMV, DOH are a few examples. The Medicaid unfunded mandates accounts for $0.90 from every $1.00 collected on the tax levy.
Lack of a County Manager or Executive
–Board Representatives are consumed with managing Department Heads rather than implementation of the Strategic Plan; which provides the vision and direction of our county. This would also provide the opportunity to improve our relationships/partnerships with municipalities within our county.
Improving existing infrastructure- county roads and bridges
Updating the Emergency Services training center
–the burn-building has not been expanded or improved upon in more than three decades
–finalize the 911 Communication system
–more towers are needed
Development of documentation scanning and record-keeping for all departments
Partner with other counties on priority issues like Broadband and upgrades for existing natural gas pipelines.
Strengthen our Agriculture environment-creating a footprint for the Farmer Markets that can be used all year. This allows our local farm businesses to increase revenue by growing product(s) year around.
Staggered terms for Representatives and extend the term to 4 years. In 2016, seven new Board Reps were elected; this does not provide continuity for Department Heads or our constituents.
During 2016, I chaired Public Safety Legal Affairs, our 911 Director pointed out a loophole with regards to wireless phone services. Those without a contract, did not pay for 911 services as those of us with land lines and wireless phone contracts did. A resolution was passed by Otsego County legislators, this item was carried to and passed both the Assembly and Senate. This passage will mean more revenue to maintain our 911 Communication system.
Working with DSS Commissioner, Eve Bouboulis, a new model for housing our homeless was adopted and will save our county taxpayers more than $100k annually. More needs to be done with this issue and we are currently studying the “Tiny Home” concept to see if this can be applied to our current and future needs of homeless.
This concept has the possibility to reduce our local-share cost by hundreds of thousands of dollars and provide the service needed.
Currently, our local municipalities are on their own to provide healthcare insurance for their employees. This methodology is expensive and does not provide annual cost stability. Partnering with our current and future County Treasurer, I have been hosting Town Hall meetings, introducing the Otsego County Healthcare Insurance Consortium. Basically, creating a insurance company, under NYS Article 47, for all municipal employees and providing a long-term healthcare insurance financial stability. Our smaller communities will see annual savings of 15-20% and over all, the county taxpayers could realize $1M to $1.4M annual savings. We will need to stay focused and follow through on the process during 2018 to recognize a start date of January 1, 2019.
I have enjoyed working for my neighbors in the 5th and 6th Wards, City of Oneonta and Otsego County residents in my first term. I hope you agree, my thirty-four (34) years of public service as a soldier, firefighter, community member and Otsego County representative has provided me the knowledge, experience and connections to serve our county residences with the leadership it deserves.
COUNTY BOARD OF REPRESENTATIVES, DISTRICT 11 (unopposed)
COMMUNITY OF RESIDENCE: City of Oneonta
EDUCATION: BS in Education, Bucknell University; MS in Administration, SUNY Albany
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: School Psychologist and Director of Special Education (OCSD)
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Hyde Hall Site Interpreter; Farmer’s Museum Dramatic Interpreter; Glimmerglobe Theater; Catskill Players Executive Committee and VP; Otsego County Democratic Committee Executive Committee; Oneonta Assembly of God.
FAMILY: Wife Abbey (married 1979), two sons: Randall (26) and Whitsun (23)
PHILOSOPHY OF GOVERNMENT: “There are some things that we can’t do unless we do them together. When we do them together, that’s called government.” Barney Frank
MAJOR ISSUES FACING OTSEGO COUNTY: Matching people to training and training to existing jobs. Preserving our awesome natural resources and landscape. Fighting back against the devastations of poverty. Building up our County human resources – and therefore quality services – after a decade of cuts.
STATEMENT: The County must begin to serve the needs of its citizens and not the political needs of its leaders. These are difficult times which require bold decisions. We need to plan carefully and thoughtfully for a short, medium and long-term future, and this process takes vision, hard work, and courage.
MY QUALITIES: Passion for democracy; work ethic; ability to collaborate; long experience and relationship with Otsego County residents from all walks of life.
COMMUNITY OF RESIDENCE: I live at 142 Morningside Drive, Oneonta, in Otsego County District 4
EDUCATION: I have an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: I have over 30 years of business management along with 10 years as a small business owner
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: I have been a member of the Oneonta Lions for 10 years and have been the President for 4 of those years! And through my business my wife and I have supported the American Cancer Society, Hospice and the Susquehanna Animal Shelter. Also starting today, my business is registered with the “Grace for Vets” program, where we will provide a free car wash on Nov. 11 and April 25 to any veteran!
FAMILY: My wife Marina and I are both in a second marriage and bring a little Brady Bunch to the table. I have 2 sons, Christopher and Michael, and a daughter Joanie along with Michael’s wife Gina and my 2 fantastic Grandsons, David and Judd. And Marina has brought 2 great-stepsons Andrew and Dereck Frisch to the mix.
PHILOSOPHY OF GOVERNMENT: My thoughts on government are that it needs to be controlled, transparent and with term limits. Our representatives have to be held accountable and have some skin in the game!
MAJOR ISSUES FACING OTSEGO COUNTY:
Economic Development; without that nothing else will work!
Infrastructure, we have a great start with I-88, the railyards and Oneonta Airport, but we need to keep these at their best!
Public Safety; with the growing opioid problem and growing homelessness we need transparency and communications at all levels!
Last; “Make governments more efficient to serve the people better.” And we need a sense of urgency in our representatives!
MY QUALITIES: With the experience that I bring from construction/business management, I totally understand that sense of urgency. I have been in all types of negotiations, I understand how to handle a budget and, last, I have the commonsense and knowledge to put all of these qualities together in one package.
STATEMENT: I just want everyone to know that this is a job that I don’t take lightly! I have always followed politics but I also knew in the past that working a fulltime job does not allow a person to give the proper amount of exposure to the issues and training that are around us at all times. Now I have come to a time in my life that I can devote the time necessary to do this job the way it should be done. The motto for the Lions Club is “We Serve” and that’s just what I will do for you, I promise to be there at the meetings to represent you!
EDUCATION: B.A. University of Illinois, J.D. Northwestern School of Law
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Law, Small Business Owner
Board president, Otsego 2000 (sponsor of Glimmerglass Film Days, Otsego Outdoors, and the Cooperstown Farmers’ Market)
Volunteer legal services for Susquehanna Animal Shelter
Aceing Autism (Board member and coach for children with autism)
FAMILY: Married to Gaylord Dillingham, four daughters, five grandchildren
PHILOSOPHY OF GOVERNMENT:
Government should serve and protect its residents, encourage economic growth, control public spending, and make sure all sectors share in services such as Broadband, good schools, and clean air and water.
MAJOR ISSUES FACING OTSEGO COUNTY:
Poor management, blocked decision making, inability to work with State agencies to secure needed grants, high property taxes, lack of creativity in anticipating and solving problems.
Integrity. Leadership. Strong advocacy skills. I prefer bi-partisan cooperation with a focus on working together to protect and grow our communities.
My opponent is a 12-year incumbent who has shown a fundamental misunderstanding of the value of our community. He was pro fracking, pro use of fracking waste as a road deicer (which leads to water contamination through run-off), and pro taking of private property by eminent domain for pipelines. At the same time, he was against strengthening Home Rule, against the Land Bank which helps eliminate blighted properties, and is against controls on dangerous CNG trucks on our undivided state roads. District 9 also has the lowest level of proposed infrastructure projects pending before Otsego Now. This record shows disdain for the assets which now exist in our region and are our path to a successful future.
I have the energy and experience to bring about positive change in my District and at County through advocacy for programs and grants available through State agencies. We must support our existing businesses and farms, protect the clean air and water we are lucky to enjoy, make sure our roads are safe for our citizens, and protect our many historic assets which are valuable now and will be even more valuable in the future. I will put my experience as a lawyer and an advocate to work for Richfield, Springfield and the County.
EDUCATION: Associate Degree Food Sale & Distribution
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: CEO Formtech Solutions Inc.
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: C.H. Graham Hose Company, Schenevus Valley Lodge 592 Masons, Schenevus Methodist Church, Town of Maryland Board, Town of Maryland supervisor, Foundation of Excellence board member.
FAMILY: Wife Shannon, daughter Holli, son Derek.
PHILOSOPHY OF GOVERNMENT: Less is more.
MAJOR ISSUES FACING OTSEGO COUNTY: Rebuilding our infrastructure while keeping taxes in line. A County Manager would be a great start.
MY QUALITIES: Having served on my local government as Supervisor, it gave me an appreciation for those that serve. What it takes financially to run a municipal entity, and the importance of communication.
“The reason a lot of people don’t recognize opportunity is because it usually goes around wearing overalls looking like hard work.” Thomas A. Edison.