Being an elected official is an honor. Anyone who steps up with honest intentions to run for public office deserves the respect of all of us. Once in office the work is both demanding and rewarding. There is no more accessible form of governance than that which your local elected officials participate in. For the residents it is a direct connection to the democratic process. All local elected officials bring ideas and hope to make their town and village a better place.

One of these people is Stephanie Hawkins. Stephanie brings tangible results that make the quality of life better in Philipstown. Before she was elected she started the Cold Spring Film Society with the fantastic idea to show classic film at the waterfront. This series has benefited both residents and businesses. As a trustee she has worked to improve the quality of village life on many levels.

One of these is her interest in keeping the trees in the village in good health. Cold Spring is a beautiful place in large part due to the many fine street trees that grace not only Main Street but throughout the village. Stephanie’s concern for the environment speaks for itself. She is more concerned about our residents and seeks ways to improve their quality of life weekly. Her efforts to make sure that the Butterfield project was thoroughly vetted were portrayed by some as holding up the process.

The largest construction project ever to be undertaken in the village needed to be looked at closely; especially one that will serve as the entry to the village. I feel that recent stories in the Putnam County News [and Recorder] have not accurately portrayed Stephanie. She is a smart professional woman who brings enthusiasm and an open mind to her work on the Village Board. Any organization would be lucky to have her in their ranks and the Village of Cold Spring is fortunate that she continues to work for what will be beneficial to the residents.

As elected officials we all seek to do what is best for the people that we serve. No one deserves to be treated with contempt or ridicule. Any attempt by journalists to create a dishonest accounting of an elected official’s conduct is a disservice to all of us.

I look forward to working with the Cold Spring Village Board and our elected officials at the county level to bring services not only to seniors but to all our residents. When it comes to the things that concern all of us there is no division. We all want what’s best for the Village of Cold Spring and the Town of Philipstown.

The next time you hear or read something that raises questions, do yourself and your elected officials a favor; give them a call or just stop by and see them. It’s better for all of us if we work together. I know that Stephanie would love to see you.

Richard Shea
Town of Philipstown

Behind The Story

Type: Opinion

Opinion: Advocates for ideas and draws conclusions based on the author/producer’s interpretation of facts and data.

This piece is by a contributor to The Current who is not on staff. Typically this is because it is a letter to the editor or a guest column.

5 replies on “Letter: Why I Admire and Respect Hawkins”

  1. Very well said. If the people who criticized elected officials just spent one day with them to see their dedication, etc., I believe there would be a lot less criticizing! What has been happening to Stephanie is so ridiculous and is just wrong. Thank you for speaking up. You obviously walk the walk.

  2. Thank you, Supervisor Shea, for saying what many in this town have been thinking. I very much admire all of our public officials in town for their willingness to give back to their community. It is appropriate for news publications, as well as constituents, to express their disagreement with substantive policies and positions of our elected officials. But bullying and character assassination has no place, especially at the local level.

  3. The recent attacks on Stephanie have left me more than a little baffled. From where I sit, I see a hardworking, dedicated public servant who takes on this work after she comes home from her full-time job in Manhattan. Her willingness to help Cold Spring wade through all the bureaucratic, legal, environmental morass is awesome. Why does any one take on this work? Surely there are too many critics and naysayers who make the job thankless. I think the reason she does it is because she loves Cold Spring. I think she does it because she believes that anything worth doing, is worth doing right. For those of you who grow impatient and accuse her of standing in the way of progress I say this: your grandchildren will be grateful that someone took the time and made the effort to assure Butterfield was done right at the beginning.

  4. An eloquent statement on the contribution and sacrifice of public service. Stephanie Hawkins and Richard Shea are exemplars of good citizenship.

  5. First, let me point out that I am not a fan of Stephanie Hawkins, but not for what she is doing for the Village of Cold Spring, but for political differences. What she is doing for the Village, agree or disagree, is admirable and a huge, time-consuming effort. To have her integrity disparaged by others who have contributed little or nothing other than criticism, does a huge disservice. It is, as Supervisor Shea has said, a “demanding and rewarding” job, which only the most conscientious of our citizens take upon themselves. It serves no benefit to criticize, quibble and denigrate those with whom some disagree, which seems in the last two years to have come upon us like a plague. They might better serve the community by adding to the dialogue, rather than tearing it down. For her effort in the Village, I commend Stephanie.

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