Democrat cites experience and knowledge
By Kevin E. Foley
Nancy Montgomery is seeking her third term on the Philipstown Town Board, running for one of two contested seats. Philipstown.info met with the Democratic candidate to discuss her qualifications and town issues. The interview has been condensed and edited while staying true to Montgomery’s responses.
Why are you running for re-election?
The primary purpose of the town government is to commit to public safety, manage the infrastructure, share the common resources of our town and in general promote the welfare of the community. The job requires an understanding of all these things, which I believe I have. I have great confidence in what I am doing, which is different from the first and second time I ran. I still have the same foundation, the same character I had when I was first motivated to run, but now I have the knowledge and experience.
To support all our operations, the town needs to obtain resources from outside the town. This is my challenge with the county and with the state. We cannot expect the elected officials above us who hold the purse strings to make the resources known to us. We have to go out and find them. I know how to do that now.
What is a primary example of a resource need for the town?
Emergency services. We have come a long way with opening the dialogue with our volunteer fire and ambulance companies. And we have to continue to highlight and support the efforts of the people who spend hundreds of hours training and preparing and answering emergency calls. We also have to ask: How do we sustain our level of service with the pressures on what it costs to provide the service?
We also need to focus on tourism, the creation of more state park land, the increase of cars on Route 9, our aging population. Where are we going to get the money we need? If the state is going to create more park land and promote tourism they have to provide some resources to help us fund the necessary services. We also have to partner better with our neighboring communities.
Given your concerns, do you think we are headed in the right direction in creating a stand-alone fire district for Garrison?
I opened the dialogue over this issue a few years ago and it was an unpopular challenge. We’ve come a long way and now people have an understanding of why we have to head in this direction. With the new district we will have a commission of five people who will have the expertise. They will attend training sessions. Their primary focus will be operations and safety. Over time they will become even more knowledgeable and this will be a great advantage.
What about the controversy over the paving and drainage project on part of South Mountain Pass?
Members of the public who came out said the process was unfair. So we needed to take the dialogue further. I am glad I voted “no” at first [on the drainage proposal]. It gave more time for an honest discussion. Then once we reached a better understanding of what we were trying to do, I was comfortable. People aren’t always going to believe something is fair. But I can try to answer the tough questions and then take a tough vote.
This issue highlights what we are good at—having a dialogue, rolling up our sleeves, taking each other to task. Richard Shea took a lot of time bringing me out to the road, bringing me into people’s homes, having the conversation over and over again because he wanted me to understand and to get my vote. It demonstrates that we don’t always agree at the outset of an issue.
I really enjoy the process. If it were only a matter of a “yes” vote, I wouldn’t be running again. There would be no challenge for me. There is a lot of deep thought that comes from the heart from all of us about what we believe is right for our community. But sometimes it takes a lot of work to get to the point where we all agree.
Why should someone vote for you?
I have the character to contribute to the community. We have this amazing place, the river, the Highlands and, most of all, the people. It’s important for me to use my expertise to help. I get calls everyday from people needing some kind of help. They know I know how to get resources to help or at least try to do it.