Letters: Endorsements for Nov. 6 Election (Updated)

Putnam County Legislature, District 1 (Philipstown)

I chose to become a physician because I believe unwaveringly that health care is a human right. Every day in the emergency department where I work, we tend to the victims of a broken system: the uninsured, the underinsured, and the uninsurable.

We are all frustrated by functioning in a system which is driven by profit, one in which Americans pay so much and get so little. Medicare for all, a single-payer national health insurance, is the most equitable and effective way to ensure that all our medical needs are covered from birth until death.

While there is nothing inherently partisan about a national health insurance program, I believe that we have the best chance of achieving a truly universal health system by electing progressives at every level of government. For this reason, I am voting for Karen Smythe, Maureen Fleming and Nancy Montgomery. Please join me at the polls on Tuesday.

Dr. Frederick Nagel, Garrison 

As a candidate for Putnam County Legislature, I would like to thank Jocelyn, Jason, Priscilla and Jane so much for hosting the Philipstown Community Congress candidates’ forum on Oct. 26. The Community Congress has become such an important clearinghouse for our community in collecting views, presenting information and helping all of us become more self-aware and more involved citizens.

Their willingness to engage with all parties as the election moves forward indicates an open-minded, open-hearted attitude to our town. I honor it, I greatly appreciate it, and I look forward to continuing our work along these pathways together.

Nancy Montgomery, Philipstown

There are many reasons I support Barbara Scuccimarra for re-election to her seat representing Philipstown on the Putnam County Legislature. Among those are that she spearheaded the Philipstown senior center and worked hard to make it happen in the face of delays caused by the mayor of Cold Spring and high bids. She continues to work hard to bring more county services to our community, despite local obstacles.

It is Barbara who fought to keep our post office open. She is the chair of the One Army in the War on Addiction Task Force, she initiated the medicine takeback program, she instituted the Think Differently initiative to help our residents with special needs, and she obtained funding for our school resource officer at Haldane.

I learned a lot from Barbara about our environment while she worked to stop hazardous barges from parking along the Hudson River, sponsored a resolution to improve the safety and monitoring of gas pipelines and introduced legislation to ban Styrofoam containers.

In six years, Barbara Scuccimarra has a proven record. Her opposition has been on the Philipstown Town Board for 11 years and, despite grants available, our town hall is still not compatible with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Her primary focus has been attempting to disarm law-abiding citizens with meaningless gun-control policies and working feverishly on a feel-good sanctuary city resolution that protects illegals and criminals. Now she wants to waste time and money doing the same thing on the county level.

Anyone who has ever met Barbara knows that she is not only an effective and successful county legislator but a warm and kind human being. She is not arrogant, condescending and does not talk down to people. She is a proven public servant, not one seeking election for self-serving reasons.

Barbara Scuccimarra has more than earned our support for re-election.

Cindy Trimble, Cold Spring

I plan to vote for Barbara Scuccimarra for Putnam County legislator to represent Philipstown.

When democracy comes to its very local expression, we expect for it to work the best. Barbara has exhibited determination and skill to transform community aspirations into accomplishments. The Philipstown senior center and the Cold Spring post office are examples. In addition, she is a shining example of civility in politics, something that is a rare attribute of politicians of both sides of the aisle.

J. Carlos Salcedo, Philipstown

State Assembly, District 95 (Philipstown)

Unfortunately, many politicians have forgotten how to work together. Many constituents feel that our elected leaders’ positions represent the views of their party at the expense of their districts. The teamwork and collaboration necessary for formulation and augmentation of the best solutions is waning.

Sandy Galef is experienced at working across the aisle. Her concerns encompass legislative reform in Albany as well as tax reduction and government efficiency. She is committed to both environmental and health issues and the challenges facing our business communities. Equally important is that Sandy is there for all who need her. She is not our Democratic or Republican assemblywoman. Sandy is our assemblywoman and goes to bat for all of us.

She helped me get medical records for my husband, a heart patient. She connected us with the board of health when our storm drain was contaminated. Sandy was there for our neighbor, who was no longer in her district.

We need an experienced, compassionate representative with the willingness to work with everyone who wants to make New York the best it can be.

Andrea Black Jeffries, Mohegan Lake

As a longtime follower of the political scene and a more recent progressive activist, I ask for your enthusiastic support of the reelection of Sandy Galef on Nov. 6. A vote for Sandy is a vote for us all.

In this age of partisan politics and ego driven back patting, Sandy has a proven track record of putting the needs of her constituency foremost, working full time to reach out to serve her district and represent your values. The emphasis is clearly on you and her commitment to serving is exemplary in an otherwise largely self-serving dysfunctional political climate.

Sandy is focused on determining what issues you and your families are most concerned about, bringing informed speakers to discuss topics of greatest concern at her many town halls and bringing civility, clarity and solutions to the community she has served with dedication over a long and distinguished career. She listens, and she acts.

Here are just some of the legislative issues she has either initiated or supported in Albany: election reform, limiting property tax increases, increased aid to education, environmental protection, support of women’s health and equality issues, child protection, financial aid for those impacted by Indian Point nuclear plant closure, sensible health care programs and advocacy for ethics reform in Albany.

Please get out and vote in this critically important midterm election, and please cast a vote for Sandy Galef.

Jay Forbes, Croton

On Nov. 6, I plan to vote for Sandy Galef. She was instrumental in securing funding for the Buchanan-Cortlandt-Croton-on-Hudson 9/11 Remembrance Memorial at Croton Landing, which would probably be unfinished to this day without her support. The memorial is honored and appreciated by all who visit but especially on Sept. 11, when we gather to remember that day and the lives that were lost, as well as those second responders who are struggling to survive.

Sandy is a supporter of community efforts, a determined and focused leader and a person who always has time to listen to you.

Janet Mainiero, Garrison

Having known Sandy for almost 60 years, I feel overly qualified to attest to her fine character, exceptional abilities and common decency.

From our earliest days together as counselors at Mohawk Day Camp in White Plains it was evident to me that Sandy was good with people, a possessor of exceptional leadership qualities, and a very hard worker. These same traits have helped her to be the outstanding legislator that she is today.

Through the years, I have worked with Sandy to help her achieve her many goals, whether it was as advocate for education, the environment, fiscal responsibility or honesty in government. She always stands up for what she believes in and what will best serve her constituents, never compromising her commendable principles.

It is for these many reasons that I feel we are fortunate to have Sandy as our assemblywoman and need her now more than ever. Please join me on Nov. 6 and vote for Sandy Galef for New York State Assembly.

Lana Hiller, Briarcliff Manor

Sandy Galef, our state assemblywoman, continues to be an excellent partner for municipalities such as the Town of Ossining. She is proactive about looking for ways that the state can help the towns and villages she represents. Just a few months ago, when she learned that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was making recommendations about storm-surge protection, she convened Riverkeeper and local leaders to consider the impacts.

Word spread that there could be significant unintended consequences to the federal approach, and many officials requested more time to submit comments. We can now hope that our collective voices will make an impact.

Sandy is extremely effective at identifying important issues for study, discussion and action. I will be supporting her for re-election on Nov. 6 and encourage others to do the same.

Dana Levenberg, Ossining
Levenberg is supervisor of the Town of Ossining.

Sandy Galef proposed legislation that would ban campaign contributions to elected officials from companies that want to do business with New York State. She proposes that legislators be prohibited from obtaining state grants for organizations that employ or involve family members.

Sandy also is advocating for a ban on political fundraisers in Albany when the state Legislature is in session. Currently, large campaign contributions are made at the same time as bills are voted on, with paid lobbyists exerting too much power with elected officials.

Galef not only is ethical but pushing back on “pay-to-play” with essential reform proposals to give us a better state government. She holds herself to the highest of standards — standards we wish of all elected officials. I hope voters will re-elect Galef so she can continue to represent our best interests.

Leslie Allen, Ossining

State Senate, District 41

State Sen. Sue Serino, whose district includes the Highlands, is blanketing our televisions with ads touting her as “just another Hudson Valley resident like you.” What she hasn’t mentioned is her sickening position on the Child Victims Act, which proposes to extend the statute of limitations for people who were victims of sexual abuse as children.

Serino and her fellow Republicans have cravenly blocked this common-sense measure to give victims their chance at justice and closure. Serino wants to continue to protect the people who abuse our children. Anyone with a heart should know that you’re either against molesters or you’re for them.

Someone who protects child molesters isn’t one of us and never will be. That’s why I’m voting for her opponent, Karen Smythe.

Lawrence Fleischer, Garrison

Editor’s note: Under state law, victims of abuse have until age 23 to file civil cases or seek criminal charges. Under the proposed Child Victims Act, victims could seek criminal charges until age 28 and file civil suits until age 50. Many Republicans oppose the bill because it would create a one-year period in which past victims could file civil lawsuits that are not allowed under the current statute of limitations. That provision is opposed by the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts, which argue it could cost them big money if they have to defend decades-old charges. Serino’s office noted she is among the 21 co-sponsors of a Senate bill that would eliminate the criminal statute of limitations altogether while creating a $300 million fund from asset forfeiture proceeds to compensate victims. A hearing officer and claims administrator would decide who qualified for the money.

I’ve seen letters that say Sen. Serino doesn’t support the proposed state Reproductive Health Act. I had never heard of this bill, so I did some research and found that many of these letters are misleading.

Those who support the bill claim that it will codify the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade into state law and ensure a woman’s right to choose if that right is ever threatened by federal law. But a report by the nonpartisan Rockefeller Institute of Government concluded that “it is unlikely that any changes to federal law will directly affect the future of abortion rights in New York State because the New York Constitution and statutes already protect abortion rights in many of the same ways as the current federal constitutional precedents.”

Not only is the bill unnecessary, it is dangerous to women’s health because it would allow non-doctors [physicians’ assistants and nurse practitioners] to perform abortions, including late-term. No matter what political party you belong to, we can all agree that a bill like that goes too far.

It’s shameful to use lies and distortions to divide women on an issue that is meaningful to all of us.

Clare Capossella, Garrison

Editor’s Note: In a debate organized by the Poughkeepsie Journal, Serino said she felt the bill would be too broad an expansion of abortion rights and objected to allowing non-doctors to perform abortions. She added, however, that she would oppose any measures that further restrict access to abortion services. Smythe said she supports the bill.

We need Karen Smythe as the next state Senator for the 41st District. Her campaign demonstrates that she will stand up and vote for the interests of her constituents. That cannot be said of our current state Senator, Sue Serino.

Although Sen. Serino makes the right noises about issues such as the environment and helping women, her legislative record says otherwise. Her views and actions (or lack thereof) on women’s reproductive choice are out of sync with the needs of the majority of her constituents.

While the philosophy behind her anti-choice view can be understood, if not shared, her failure to support the Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act is not defensible. If abortions are, as everyone agrees, to be avoided, why hasn’t Senator Serino supported S.3668, which would require insurance companies to give women affordable access to the contraceptive care prescribed by their doctors without a copay, allow women to obtain a one-year supply, and allow emergency access to contraception? This failure on her part is not logical and not supportive of women’s needs.

Similarly, although Senator Serino purports to be pro-environment, her voting record on the environment this year was abysmal, earning her a 38 percent rating by the New York League of Conservation Voters. Only one senator ranked lower.

Karen Smythe advocates strongly for women and the environment. I look forward to having her as our next state Senator.

Susan Anspach, Cold Spring

Political forums and debates have always been accepted as a necessary part of campaigning for political office. It is a time-honored democratic process that a political candidate should fulfill if he or she considers running. The forums work for both the voters and the candidates: Voters are given an opportunity to form a firsthand impression of the candidates, and the candidates are given a platform to present their views.

Three towns in Putnam County are within state Senate District 41: Philipstown, Putnam Valley and Kent. Most of the district is in Dutchess County [including Beacon]. The League of Women Voters of Putnam County scheduled a candidate’s forum on Oct. 18 in Kent, and both candidates for the seat, incumbent Sue Serino (R) and Karen Smythe (D) were invited to attend. Sen. Serino declined, saying she had a prior commitment.

We realize how busy candidates can be during the campaign season, so we sent our invitations six weeks in advance. Every other invited candidate said they could attend. However, our policy is that if one candidate in a race cannot be there, we do not hold “empty” chair forums. So while Karen Smythe accepted our invitation, we decided we could not allow her to answer questions from the audience.

We are very sorry that Sen. Serino declined our invitation. This will be the third time she has campaigned for the seat, and she has never accepted an invitation to attend any of our forums. We regret that her Putnam County constituents have been deprived of this opportunity to hear the senator in debate.

Phyllis Hoenig, Mahopac
Hoenig is vice president of the League of Women Voters of Putnam County.

As a longtime resident of the Hudson Valley, I will vote for Karen Smythe for state Senate and hope others will do the same.

Karen knows what’s right, and she will fight for us. She understands we need middle-class jobs that pay a decent wage, and she will fight to bring good jobs and economic growth that will benefit Hudson Valley families. She appreciates that our magnificent river is one of our region’s most precious resources, and she will fight to protect the valley’s natural heritage.

Karen recognizes that women’s rights are human rights, and she will fight to protect reproductive health and the right to earn equal pay for equal work. She believes that every child in our state deserves a high-quality education, and she will fight to ensure that all our schools are fully funded. She knows that families are overburdened by high taxes, and she will fight for middle-class tax relief.

Karen comprehends that people need high-quality, affordable health care in order for our region to thrive, and she will fight for universal health care for all New Yorkers. She knows our children deserve to be safe, and she will fight for common-sense gun laws.

Karen Smythe will stand up for Hudson Valley families.

Peter Ullian, Beacon

On Oct. 18, the League of Women’s Voters of Putnam County arranged for a candidates’ forum in Kent. An overflow crowd gathered to hear candidates for local and state offices address questions from the audience. The ensuing dialogue was both informative and cordial, a welcome but unfortunately rare occurrence in this election cycle.

The League’s rules require that each candidate’s opponent must be present for any candidate to be granted the right to address the forum. It was therefore doubly consequential that Sue Serino, our state senator, chose to be absent. This choice not only deprived the audience of the ability to address Serino, and to compare her responses to those of her opponent, Karen Smythe, it also precluded Smythe from addressing the gathering.

There are precious few opportunities to hear directly from candidates in a debate format, a situation that belies the importance of those offices in our everyday lives. Even though she could not address the voters from the podium on Oct. 18, Karen Smythe showed us that she would be the better choice. Her willingness to engage the public during the campaign speaks well of her availability once in office.

Dan Nobel, Cold Spring

Recently, I attended a pasta dinner hosted by Sen. Serino and Vet2Vet. I have to thank these folks for always taking the time to remember our veterans. People might think that a pasta dinner isn’t a big deal, but this event was so much more. It brought veterans from every generation together to communicate, and that doesn’t happen enough.

This is the second event hosted by Sen. Serino that I have attended this year. They both speak to why Sue is such an important representative — she cares about the people others tend to forget.

As a senior and a veteran, I cannot thank her enough. As a military man, I know Sue is the kind of leader who will always have our backs. We need more people with her backbone and strong moral compass. I learned a long time ago that you can’t depend on most politicians, but Sue is a person who I know we can trust. I’ll be proud to give her my vote this year, as will my family, including my children and grandchildren. I hope you will too.

Martin Kirwan, Wappingers Falls

Putnam County Executive

I thought Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell made a terrible impression at the Philipstown Community Congress candidate forum on Oct. 26 at the Desmond-Fish Library in Garrison.

First, she was late and kept people waiting and the moderator struggled to fill time. This was not only rude, it held up the other candidates and the program. When it was suggested that the forum should start with candidates for another office, the debate moderators admitted that Odell had demanded she go first so she could get to another appointment.

I would say she was dismissive toward Philipstown, but her record already established that. But there was also an air of entitlement and that we work for her, not the other way around.

What kind of candidate shows up late for their own debate? Someone who’s been in office too long, that’s who. Enough of the scandals. Enough of the cronyism. Enough of Odell!

With Maureen Fleming we’ll get a refreshing and needed change in county government. She is trustworthy, intelligent, knowledgeable and shows up on time. Tell Odell we’re tired of waiting for her promises to be fulfilled. Elect Fleming!

Dan Willson, Philipstown

As a volunteer for Nancy Montgomery’s campaign for county legislator, I was honored to attend the Philipstown Community Congress forum and see so many neighbors engaged in a local race. I hope the focus on topics presented by the participants in the community survey helped shed light on the role county government should play in our shared goals.

As productive and successful as the event was, however, I was appalled by the blatant disrespect demonstrated by MaryEllen Odell. After arriving 25 minutes late with no apology, her opening statement showed a total misunderstanding of the purpose of the Community Congress and a flippant disregard for its common agenda. And her early departure robbed the participants of any opportunity for follow-up questions or even a hello and a handshake.

I don’t know whether this was a lack of preparation for the event, or simply a lack of consideration for the needs expressed by our community, but Philipstown has waited around too long for Odell to give us the attention we deserve. We don’t have the luxury of waiting out another term.

Sean Conway, Cold Spring

As a political independent I am able to support the best candidates based on their merits rather than their party affiliation or ideology. Odell and County Legislator Barbara Scuccimara are the clear choices for re-election to ensure a bright and dynamic future for our beloved Putnam County.

As the mayor of Nelsonville, I have been privileged to work closely with both MaryEllen and Barbara and I can assure my fellow citizens that these two women are extraordinary assets to the communities they serve. Odell has demonstrated time and again tireless energy and skill in her enlightened management of county affairs. Few citizens may be aware that her fiscal competence has placed Putnam County in the admirable position of operating with the lowest portion of any tax bill of any other county in the state.

Fewer still witnessed at first hand, as I did, MaryEllen’s management of the County’s Emergency Response Center during the terrible storms we experienced earlier this year. Her concern for the citizens hurt by these storms was genuine and her capability in guiding the county’s response was remarkable.

Scuccimara has ably and energetically represented the needs and interests of her constituents. Her staunch advocacy, in particular, of our community’s seniors in the creation of the Friendship Center in Philipstown is deeply appreciated by our citizens, old and young.

On Election Day, please go to the polls. When you do, please also consider the contributions to the future of our community made by these two outstanding women.

Bill O’Neill, Nelsonville

As Kent supervisor for the past 10 years, Maureen Fleming has illustrated a depth of knowledge of every issue because of the diligence she shows in her approach to the job. Because she knows how government is supposed to work in our democracy, Maureen would find it unthinkable to make decisions without full collaboration with her fellow legislators.

Here is something everyone will pay attention to: During her tenure as supervisor, there have been zero tax increases in Kent, and Maureen has taken great care to bring spending under control. In this small place in our country, Maureen reaches out to everyone regardless of party affiliation because she commits herself to our community, the place where she and we all live.

Maureen is terrific. Remember to vote for her on Nov. 6.

Carol Ettlinger, Carmel

I am writing to express grave concerns about Maureen Fleming’s actions in her bid for the Putnam County Executive seat. She professes policies, which if enacted, would cause crime rates to rise and endanger the lives of our families.

In 2017, Fleming pushed for a sanctuary city bill in Kent, where she is supervisor. What is not commonly known is this bill would give substantial legal protections to members of criminal cartels such as MS-13. The bill would have given these criminals substantial legal protections. Police would have difficulty stopping, questioning or arresting these thugs. Brewster is starting to see the first influx of MS-13. How long until MS-13 starts spreading to the rest of the county?

On the flip side, Fleming has been vocal about passing gun control and confiscating legal firearms from law-abiding, decent citizens. She is blind in her belief that disarming law-abiding Americans will result in lower crime rates.

I don’t want any of Fleming’s policies being put into place. I hope her ideas forever remain in the reject bin.

Christopher Turan, Patterson
Turan is the secretary of the Putnam County Firearm Owners Association.

What Putnam County needs now, more than ever, is change — change from the Odell administration that supports patronage and nepotism hiring. Change from the Odell administration that supports wasteful spending, increased taxation (2 percent each year in the past five years). Change from an Odell administration’s smoke-and-mirror budget to a Fleming budget of transparency, elimination of wasteful spending and reduction in taxes.

Change in Putnam from a one-party rule county to a county where everyone is included, and where residents should not have to worry about reprisal because they do not belong to the political party of the current administration.

The day of change is Nov. 6. If you’re tired of being stepped on by the current administration, it’s time you step out and cast your ballot for Maureen Fleming, a true fiscal leader.

Robert Ferguson, Mahopac

As I see it, Putnam County is in great financial shape. We have paid off pension debt, have paid off short-term debt, have paid down long-term debt and have a healthy fund balance for the future. We have a 2 percent tax increase, or $24 for the average property owner, and are still the lowest county tax in New York.

We continue to pay for state mandates, which eats up approximately 90 percent of our budget. Putnam continues to support our nonprofits and pay towns and schools when residents don’t pay their tax bills. We have all of this because of the capable leadership of MaryEllen Odell.

Putnam County government is on the right track and I am voting for the those who have a proven track record. The message is clear: when so much is right, it is wrong to vote for anyone else on Nov. 6. Listen to the message of those who want to challenge good government and then vote for the skill and vision that the Odell administration has delivered. Support MaryEllen for four more years of excellence.

Cory Lyons, Cold Spring

Why vote for Maureen Fleming for county executive? For starters, I work hard for a living and hope that our county government will work at least as hard when it comes to spending my tax dollars. Living in Kent, I have witnessed the fiscal conservatism that Maureen demonstrates daily while managing our town. Her decisions are thoughtful and clearly articulated, and she has never forgotten that she works for us, and therefore, encourages our voices to be heard.

Unfortunately, Putnam County has become a place where spending goes unchallenged, voices are silenced and partisan politics are not just present but encouraged. It is ironic to me that Maureen had to expose how the current administration’s spending has reached new heights and remains both cloaked in secrecy and unchecked. When faced with these revelations, our county executive has all but dug in her heels and shut down the questions.

A vote for Maureen is not going to create a “sanctuary city.” She never supported that as supervisor. Maureen is keenly aware that these are state and federal issues. A vote for Maureen is not going to impact our Second Amendment rights. A vote for Maureen is not an endorsement of a personal, or for that matter, an outside party’s agenda. Her only agenda is to do what is best for the people of Putnam County. Unfortunately, our county executive has divided us with these issues for far too long, and used them to distract us from her own failed management.

If you are still undecided, do your own research: attend candidates’ forums or watch them online, read up on democracy, understand the limits of power that the county executive position holds and know that on the county level, politics do not have to be partisan. No one knows this better than Maureen.

Catherine O’Connor, Kent

I have known Maureen Fleming since I moved up to Putnam nearly 20 years ago. I am impressed with her character. She is intelligent, a mother, an attorney, and a skilled supervisor of Kent. Throughout her three terms she has reduced debt service by 38 percent and added $1.4 million to the general fund.

On the other hand, during MaryEllen Odell’s terms of office, there have been lots of questions raised, including about Tilly Foster Farm, the Butterfield project and the use of the Putnam Golf Course. No clear answers have been provided. Instead, we get lots of talk about other things.

Odell has trumpeted that we “only” have a 2 percent increase in taxes, which is the state-mandated tax cap. The problem is that she’s using $4 million of the general fund to pay for her budget. To make matters worse, this is the seventh tax increase in a row. She blames it on spending mandates, but spending choices to meet mandates are fully within the executive’s control.

The other major item that doesn’t make sense is the financial picture at Putnam County Golf Course. While Odell says it’s on solid financial ground, expenses in October exceeded income by $223,055. See for yourself on Page 187 of the budget.

Join me in changing the leadership in Putnam County.

Challen Armstrong, Brewster

I used to think all local government was the same. I thought that local government went through the motions and that people who had no idea what was going on were as happy as those who were engaged. I had low expectations and most of the time our administrations in Kent met them.

For some reason I paid attention when Maureen Fleming was elected supervisor. I listened to her speeches and found them compelling and fact-based. She knew what she was talking about. She was a refreshing change; well-educated, informed, thoughtful and respectful. Her only agenda appeared to be open, transparent government, and she was a fiscal conservative who welcomed the opinions of her constituents, regardless of party. She is not afraid of challenge nor is she threatened by opposing viewpoints.

I am now happy to live in Kent. Maureen has not raised taxes (yes, zeros matter!), been accountable, cut the fat, kept her eye on spending and made measurable fiduciary decisions that allow seniors in Kent to remain in their homes and shore up and improve our infrastructure while encouraging responsible growth.

The bottom line is that our community is changing; the county is changing and growing. We need an intelligent, responsible and steady hand managing it. With her professional, legal, educational and governmental experience, Maureen is the only choice to move Putnam County forward.

Diane Kerr, Kent Lakes

I graduated from college in December and moved back home. I’ve always loved Carmel. I’d love to stay in Putnam County but unfortunately I cannot stay because I can’t get a job here.

My parents want to move out of the county because the taxes are so high, but they’re worried no one would buy our house for that reason. Taxes rise every year and businesses aren’t moving here. If my parents, a retired 9/11 firefighter and a full-time working woman, can’t make it work in Putnam, a single person just out of college doesn’t stand a chance.

I feel like all this county does is waste money. Being home during this election, I’ve been able to learn about what’s been happening in the government the past seven years under Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell. It’s wasteful. It’s not transparent. Maureen Fleming, the town supervisor of Kent, has a record that is clean and clear.

It’s sad for me to watch what could have been an opportunity for discussion in this county turn into attacks and tricks by the Odell camp. I know Fleming has never raised taxes because I have friends in Kent, and because I read the budgets myself after Odell claimed otherwise on Facebook (I’m not actually sure if she is purposefully lying or doesn’t understand how taxing works). I know Kent citizens are still happy with their guns, MS-13 free, and in the five years Fleming has been in office, Kent hasn’t become a sanctuary city.

I also know people have been stealing Fleming for Putnam signs across the county, squashing people’s First Amendment freedoms — the same people saying Fleming is taking their Second Amendment. All the Odell signs have stayed up. The county executive sees these lies circulating, circulates a few herself, watches the illegal disposal of signs across Putnam, and does nothing. This eliminated any remaining faith I have in her. We need honesty back. We need fiscal intelligence back. We need Maureen Fleming.

Alyssa Schofield, Carmel

Maureen Fleming has been a great leader and role model for our community. As president of the Lake Tibet Advisory Board, I have experienced firsthand her dedication in getting things done for the community. She went above and beyond recently to help Lake Tibet get approvals passed at the very last minute so we could harvest this year. It was the only thing we were able to do to clean up our lake this year, and it was critical for our lake’s survival. We are very thankful.

We were able to see what’s possible when you have a strong leader supporting you. One who is kind, one who cares, one who is strong and committed to bettering our community. Vote for Maureen Fleming!

Dorian D’Ausilio, Carmel

State Attorney General

Michael Sussman, a legendary civil rights hero, is running for state attorney general on the Green Party line. As lead attorney for the NAACP, Sussman fought and won a case that desegregated the City of Yonkers. He has argued  before the U.S. Supreme Court.

For those of us who are fed up with the corruption in our state,  Sussman is the obvious choice, not one of the candidates from the two entrenched political parties.

Vote for true change on Election Day, an attorney general who works for you, not a major political party — Michael Sussman on the Green Party line.

Charlie Davenport, Wappingers Falls

U.S. House District 18

I am writing to express my support for James O’Donnell for Congress to represent the 18th District of New York, which includes the Highlands. He is a gentleman, a family man, married to his lovely wife for 44 years and together they have eight children and seven grandchildren.

After he retired as a lieutenant colonel in the New York State Police, Jim was appointed to serve as the chief of police for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, attended the Harvard University JFK School of Government, did graduate study at the University of Alabama and has a degree from Dominican College.

Jim has extensive supervisory experience in areas such as Violent Felony Warrant Squad, state police operations in New York City, and overseeing all uniform trooper patrol operations. His experience also extends to protection of facilities and infrastructure against threats of terrorism and he oversaw the MTA’s evacuation of New York City on 9/11 and police response during the months that followed.

Jim has dedicated his life to public service. He is currently an Orange County legislator. Before his election, he served as director of operations for the Office of the County Executive and then deputy county executive.

His opponent, Sean Patrick Maloney, despite not being nominated by the Democratic Party to run for state attorney general, abandoned the 18th to run anyway. It is crystal clear who has a proven record of dedication to the people versus who has a proven record of dedication to himself. Please vote for the man who has more than earned our support.

Cindy Trimble, Cold Spring

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