For the past 18-plus months, I’ve been basically locked up navigating my company through the horrors of COVID-19. With solid footing finally in place, I’m looking to reengage with public policy locally again.

Some may recall I spent many years on the Haldane Board of Education as well as many other local nonprofits. As you know, we’re in election season here in the village, and an important election at that. One scenario has 80 percent of the existing Village Board turning over, which should be of concern. I know most of the candidates and all are honorable people — a positive.

I took time recently to sit down with Kathleen, Eliza and Tweeps in a quiet setting and talk “shop.” I knew Kathleen for many years through Haldane but hadn’t met Eliza or Tweeps. Bios and press releases are nice but a thorough back-and-forth is where you learn things about people.

I came away from the 90-minute talk very impressed. This wasn’t a bunch of left-wing radicals as some have depicted but a smart, practical and creative-thinking group that is willing to pivot and think out-of-the-box without losing grasp of the issue at hand.

I shared some stories of the past dysfunction in Haldane politics and how reaching across the table can work, and those who I was told were enemies were good people once you got to know them. They spoke of humility and not having answers to everything, which is a must in public life. I was impressed and I’m willing to give them a shot. My hand is raised to help, and I encourage you in the next two weeks to learn more about them. I think you’ll be as impressed as I was.

Joe Curto, Cold Spring

I write to explain why I will cast my vote in the upcoming election for Nancy Montgomery for Putnam County legislator, Kathleen Foley for Cold Spring mayor and Eliza Starbuck and Tweeps Phillips Woods for Cold Spring trustees.

I have friends on both sides of our local campaigns. I admire them all for their willingness to run and serve. I am enrolled in no political party. I was a staff member for Republican Rep. Hamilton Fish Jr. and Democratic New York Assembly Member Maurice Hinchey. I served as an unofficial environmental advisor to Republican Gov. George Pataki and Democratic Rep. Paul Tonko. I bring no political biases to my choices.

However, I must disqualify the opposing candidates in the Cold Spring and Putnam County races who have depended upon the support of the leadership of the Putnam County Republican Party. The party’s history of McCarthy-era tactics has no place in local politics. A full-page ad it ran in a Putnam County newspaper on Oct. 31, 2018, stated in bold red type, in a red outlined box: “Democrats embrace Progressiveness, which becomes Socialism and ultimately Communism.”

I condemn this ugly and divisive tactic from the Red Scare days, when political ideologues turned neighbors and friends against each other to consolidate political power. I am disappointed that none of my Republican friends renounced the party leadership responsible for it.

By contrast, Montgomery, Foley, Starbuck and Woods embrace ideals and ideas that will make Cold Spring and Putnam County proud: transparency in government spending, public involvement in decision-making, protection of our residential quality of life and, yes, progressive ideas about infrastructure, traffic, the environment and more.

I have lived here for 40 years. I am not a familiar voice in local politics. But thanks to a full career, politics is familiar to me. I want representation that reflects who we are as a community, and who we are as neighbors. I will be casting my vote in support of these simple, and very American, ideals.

John Cronin, Cold Spring

I moved to Cold Spring with my husband and two children 26 years ago. We’ve never missed a chance to cast our votes, but the Nov. 2 election feels different. This time it’s not simply a mayor and a number of trustees on the ballot, it’s a team. Kathleen Foley, Eliza Starbuck and Tweeps Phillips Woods could mean a dynamic new direction for our village.

What distinguishes Kathleen, Eliza and Tweeps is their energy. They are committed to living a good life and expect us villagers to demand the same. They are focused on preserving the small-town feel of our community — even as it strains at the seams to get bigger. And they bring such varied experience to the table, balancing fresh ideas with practical solutions to the issues that affect us all: flooding and loss of electricity, keeping our town safe and negotiable for pedestrians, and keeping the asset of tourism from becoming a burden, to name a few.

What’s more, they’re interested in hearing our ideas. I’ve been hoping for a compost program for some time, and with their leadership, I’m betting it will finally happen. Their platform is not about politics, it’s about real life. It’s about us.

Diane Botnick, Cold Spring

Not being a resident of the Village of Cold Spring, I can’t vote in the upcoming election for mayor and trustees. But having come to know many people who do live in Cold Spring, I want them to know that I would enthusiastically vote for the team of Kathleen Foley, Eliza Starbuck and Tweeps Phillips Woods.

Cold Spring is a great place to live, work, eat and shop. Hardly a day goes by without my being there. My daily activities have put me in contact with the candidates and a lot of great, community-minded business owners and residents. How fortune the village is to have an active group like this. But Cold Spring is small and has limited public resources. Everyone needs to be on the same page. Inclusiveness and communication are the most important attributes that I would be looking for in the village’s elected officials.

Inclusive and communicative by nature, I have no doubt that Kathleen, Eliza and Tweeps will set a positive tone for engaging with all stakeholders to help achieve a higher quality of life in Cold Spring. If you are looking for an opportunity to work as neighbors for a common interest, these three candidates are the individuals you will want to vote for in the upcoming election.

Nat Prentice, Garrison

We are writing in support of three fellow community members and their candidacy in our upcoming local election. We are supporting Kathleen Foley for mayor and Eliza Starbuck and Tweeps Phillips Woods for trustees of Cold Spring.

Each of these three candidates has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to the betterment of our village and its future. They have already made countless contributions to the residents of Cold Spring through their many forms of public service. We need leadership from locals who are familiar with the day-to-day workings of our village — the complexities of building infrastructure and revenue streams in a village that is our home and also a tourist destination for many.

Kathleen, Eliza and Tweeps bring a wealth of experience in commerce, community engagement, project management, parks/open spaces, climate change and social justice. And they know how to seek out guidance from experts and to engage in meaningful dialogue across a broad range of perspectives. They love this village. It is their home. We trust these local leaders to listen and to make informed decisions in order to build a stable and strong future for Cold Spring. This is why we will be voting for Kathleen, Eliza and Tweeps on Nov. 2. Join us.

Tracy Prout Bunye and Bernard Bunye, Cold Spring

Thank you for hosting debates and covering the local elections. Imagine what a state we’d be in if you didn’t.

I am writing enthusiastically in support of Kathleen, Eliza and Tweeps. Why? Their collective backgrounds are impressive and needed — they have had demonstrated experience in complementary fields; they listen; they are detail-oriented; they draw on others’ expertise; they communicate respectfully. They show up and they follow the law.

Will I always agree with them collectively or individually? Probably not, but they care about process and I have learned over many years that if people trust the process they are more likely to trust the outcomes.

Gretchen Dykstra, Cold Spring

I’m writing in support of Cold Spring mayoral candidate Kathleen Foley and trustee candidates Tweeps Woods and Eliza Starbuck at the polls. This powerhouse team has proven that they are dedicated and willing to work hard in local government on behalf of all Cold Spring citizens. I believe their collective talent, intelligence and experience will be beneficial to our village for years to come. Please cast your vote for Foley, Starbuck and Woods this election season.

Maya Dollarhide, Cold Spring

We don’t need any further pillaging of our village by the Carmel Republican Party.  That’s one of the reasons why I’m voting for Kathleen Foley, Tweeps Woods and Eliza Starbuck. Read about their lives, accomplishments and thoughts on our village at

Donald MacDonald, Cold Spring

We wholeheartedly support Kathleen Foley for our mayor and Tweeps and Eliza for our village trustees. True public servants each, who care deeply about our community and this very special place we all call home.

Lauren Wallis Hall and Nathanael Brotherhood, Cold Spring

Our village community needs a mayor and trustees with good new ideas — and the professional backgrounds to ensure they get done. Those people are Kathleen Foley for mayor; Eliza Starbuck for trustee, and Tweeps Phillips Woods for trustee. Let’s forge ahead!

Anita Peltonen, Cold Spring

“Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.” ~Sue Premo

Volunteerism is the way that I came to first know them and it’s for that exact reason that I will proudly be casting my vote for Kathleen Foley and Tweeps Phillips Woods. Without pomp, and long before the spotlight of the election cycle, Kathleen and Tweeps have always stepped up and done work for the people of our village when called upon. Tireless hours on committees and commitment to their community is a way of life for them not a flashy slogan.

Travis Fyfe, Cold Spring

Being an introvert, I always expected living in a small community to be isolating and boring, but I have made so many friends since moving here in 2017 simply from living, shopping, or just walking around the neighborhood.

This never happened in the city — all my friends were “work friends.” Shortly after moving here, while walking my dog Billie on Main Street, I met Tweeps Woods and her daughter Birdie. We became fast friends (something that never happens to me).

Not much later, at a Historic District Review Board meeting, I met Kathleen Foley who helped navigate the restoration of our home. I kept hearing about “Kathleen” and hearing things from random people like, “Oh, you’ll love Kathleen, she’s awesome.” They were right, and now I consider her a friend, too.

My go-to wine shop on Main Street is owned by Eliza Starbuck, who I had heard about because she was the president of the Cold Spring Chamber of Commerce. After popping in there a few times it was of course natural that we too became friends.

These are smart, engaged, charismatic women who truly love the village as much as we all do. They are also easy to talk to and get to know. I normally don’t pay much attention to local elections, but this time is different. It’s an exciting time for us all to be living in the beautiful Hudson Valley, and Cold Spring in particular — we feel and see its popularity growing.

With that comes a lot of debate over how to maintain our small village charm, but be open to sustainable growth and possibilities for its future. Kathleen, Tweeps and Eliza are putting in the work to make sure our community becomes more prosperous and vibrant than ever, prioritizing the residents and their kids who live, work, and go to school here. We are making a choice to ensure our village is cared for and nourished by people who turn up every day, do the work, and are our trusted neighbors and friends. They are the real deal, which is why I enthusiastically support Kathleen Foley as our new mayor and Tweeps Woods and Eliza Starbuck as village trustees.

Tom O’Quinn, Cold Spring

There’s an axiom that goes something like this: “Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.” In that spirit, the choice for mayor is clear. Kathleen Foley is the transformational candidate. Her dedication and devotion to public service is proven. And her running mates for trustee, Eliza Starbucks and Tweeps Woods, offer a practical vision for our village. Simply put, they will make our lives better.

Leo Sacks, Cold Spring

My family and I thought it’d be worthwhile to share our support for Kathleen Foley and the Forge Ahead campaign.

Most specifically, the hands-on nature of Kathleen, Eliza and Tweeps’ involvement in Cold Spring and all its various happenings clearly demonstrates that they are the very same individuals that should be helping shape the future of this great town.

Cold Spring need not be subject to political nonsense. We need people who get it, care about it, and live it every day. They are ultimately one of us, and as such, we will do everything in our power to help them see this through. As young parents of one toddler and another on the way, we look forward to the continued growth and improvement of this great town through the voice of the Cold Spring residents and business owners, and by proxy, the Forge Ahead group.

Joe, Alex and Leo Laurino, Cold Spring

We heartily endorse the slate of Kathleen Foley, Tweeps Phillips Woods and Eliza Starbuck for the Village of Cold Spring. We believe that together they have the experience, integrity and unflagging drive to preserve what we love about Cold Spring.  And to work with residents and local and county officials to face the village’s infrastructure challenges and to embrace sensible development opportunities as they arise.

Linda Lange and Rich Franco, Cold Spring

We are writing to express our enthusiastic support for Kathleen Foley for mayor, Eliza Starbuck for the two-year term, and Tweeps Phillips Woods for the one-year term.

We have been across the table from Kathleen during Historic District Review Board meetings and public hearings countless times over many years and have always found her to be methodical in her thinking, exceptionally organized, and willing to deliberate before reaching a conclusion. We know that both individually as a team, they will bring considered and thoughtful leadership, know-how and civility to our local government.

Beth Sigler and Paul Henderson, Cold Spring

The phrase “all politics is local” is interpreted to mean that the success of local leadership is dependent upon their understanding of the issues that matter most to their constituents. The issues that matter to Cold Springers are wide-ranging. Everyone in the village has thoughtful opinions on the concerns that directly impact us: the increase of tourism, short-term rentals, and the challenges of parking. We have broader concerns about more existential issues, too, like climate change, inequality, the pandemic and how our village is affected by these global matters.

As Laura and I have met the candidates for mayor and the board of trustees, one slate has exemplified the active participation and deep engagement that all these issues demand. Kathleen Foley, Eliza Starbuck and Tweeps Phillips Woods have each knocked on doors and formulated thoughtful direction based on diverse voices in the community. 

The team that is most informed and that will be most successful in leading us forward is clear: Let’s “forge ahead” with Foley, Starbuck and Woods.

Alex Wilcox Cheek and Laura Bozzi, Cold Spring

I am writing to express my deep appreciation for all that Kathleen Foley has done for our community, and her willingness to do even more. I first met Kathleen at the Tots Park volunteer cleanup. Although she was in her third trimester with her second child, she was there with her sleeves rolled up and putting in the hard work needed to get the playground ready for our children.

I had the pleasure to work with Kathleen professionally with us here at River Architects partnering with her as a professional urban planner in writing a successful grant for one of our neighboring river communities. This significant win was founded on careful research and creative thinking, but most importantly on listening to the community to understand their needs and convincingly relaying that information to the grant jury.

That combination of dedicated volunteer and professional planner is a stellar one- the willingness to put in the hard work, the care in listening to our community’s needs, deep professional training in community design, and the ability to relate that into a successful outcome is unparalleled. But the single most attribute that I am grateful for is her caring, tireless love of our village.

I am thrilled to have this moment to give Kathleen, Tweeps and Eliza my support knowing that the Forge Ahead team will work tirelessly to address our needs, honoring our village history while moving us ahead into a prosperous and sustainable future.

James Hartford, Cold Spring

There are two candidates running for mayor of Cold Spring, but in my mind there exists only one choice — Kathleen Foley. A long-term resident and current village trustee, Kathleen’s transition to mayor is a natural outgrowth of her hard work, skills and dedication to Cold Spring.

Kathleen’s familiarity with local government and issues translates to an understanding of how problems both big — such as climate change and infrastructure — and small, such an outdated village website and lack of easy communication — effect residents’ quality of life.

Like many of us, we live here because we love the walkability, the local businesses along Main Street, the proximity to hiking trails and the Hudson river for outdoor recreation. We enjoy the neighborly feel and the opportunities to make connections that improve our corner of the world.

But all these things require time, attention and planning to ensure this village continues to evolve for us and our children’s generation. This work can only be done in conjunction with residents’ input and engagement, in the community forums and working groups which Kathleen supports. Figuring out how to make tourism profitable and sustainable, while improving residents’ lives is a serious issue. We’re at a critical point in life of our town, and we need leadership that’s responsive and dynamic enough to encompass and address all these issues — the old business as usual just won’t cut it anymore.

As a 20-year veteran of law enforcement, I also have confidence that Kathleen understands the importance of public safety as the basis of a healthy community. She’s a strong proponent of Larry Burke, and our local law enforcement officers in their pursuit of transparent policing practices that make life safer for all us.

For all these reasons, I believe our future will be bright with Kathleen Foley and the Forge Ahead platform steering us in the right direction.

Victor Burgos, Cold Spring

As a resident of Cold Spring, and having seen firsthand what local government is all about, I believe that our village will be best served with Kathleen Foley as mayor, and with Tweeps Phillips Woods and Eliza Starbuck on the board, as well.

When choosing who to vote for and why, I ask myself these simple questions: Why are they running? What do they have at stake? What do they have to gain?

The Forge Ahead candidates are honest and straightforward about it all: It’s not about money and how much we can get out of Carmel. The county and that government is best left to Philipstown Supervisor Richard Shea and his successor, or the state to supervise.

None of these candidates has any ties to those at the county level for good reason: They aren’t in any major political party or on anyone’s payroll. They have children being raised here; they own homes and businesses here. They volunteer on various boards and committees. That is what they have at stake — this village, just like you and me.

Get out and vote on Election Day. I have seen firsthand how a single vote can make a difference!

Mindy Jesek, Cold Spring
Jesek is a former Nelsonville village clerk.

I would like to voice my support for the Foley, Eliza and Tweeps ticket. They are three articulate, measured and passionate neighbors who have the credentials, education and foresight to recognize the need to evolve the village away from the archaic and into the now.  I’ve admired each as visible and active community members and hope to see them evolve into the leaders this town needs.

Jeanne Sison, Cold Spring

We live in unprecedented times. We imagine that all peoples, from all times have believed that, but because we are here in the present we feel we can claim the crown for the present age.

In light of that objective reality, which we know is not held by all political and societal persuasions, we commit ourselves to those trusted public servants that do the work. Those public servants that serve more than themselves. Those public servants that strive for transparency and inclusion and action and results. Above all else, we identify and support honor, integrity, character, empathy and common sense.

These are qualities identified and evidenced. We wholeheartedly support and will cast our votes for Kathleen Foley for mayor and Eliza Starbuck and Tweeps Phillips Woods for trustees for The Village of Cold Spring.

Billy Fields and Galelyn Williams, Cold Spring

A couple of months ago I asked for volunteers to help weed the Tots Park and although Kathleen Foley’s own children had outgrown the park years ago, she was there with her bucket and gardening gloves weeding for hours. She had already spent her children’s younger years volunteering many hours of her time to maintain the park, but Kathleen is loyal to her community and when someone asks for help, she always shows up.

Beyond the playground you can see evidence of Kathleen’s love for this community everywhere you look from the community herb garden that she planted with her Girl Scout troop to the 13 years she devoted to protecting the unique character of our village as a member of the Historic District Review Board.

I met Kathleen 11 years ago when I moved to Cold Spring, and she immediately stood out as a someone who had her finger on the pulse of her community. I was inspired to be an engaged citizen because I saw how Kathleen’s volunteerism and activism manifested positive outcomes for our community. In fact, I eventually joined her as a member of the HDRB.

I write my endorsement as a neighbor, not from my position as an HDRB member. However, as her former colleague I can attest to the fact that Kathleen is willing to sit at the table in the Village Hall until midnight and beyond when the village needs her. Cold Spring  deserves a mayor who knows this community inside and out and Kathleen Foley has already shown us that she is that person.

Andrea Connor Hudson, Cold Spring

I’m writing to express my enthusiastic support for Kathleen Foley as mayor of Cold Spring, Eliza Starbuck and Tweeps Woods for village trustees, and Jason Angell for Philipstown Town Board.

It’s been a genuine pleasure getting to know these four smart, capable, compassionate and dedicated individuals through my advocacy work since my wife and I moved to Cold Spring two years ago. I can say without hesitation that each is committed to public service, good governance and a better community, and has the intellectual and emotional capacity to translate good ideas into concrete results. I look forward to seeing what they accomplish together.

Jeff Mikkelson, Cold Spring

The Forge Ahead team of Kathleen Foley for  mayor, and Tweeps Phillips Woods and Eliza Starbuck for trustees has earned my vote, and I hope they have earned yours as well. I say “earn” intentionally, for this group of village volunteers believe their role is one of informed service to our community.

Each member of this dream team brings with her professional experience that will benefit the village as it navigates complicated questions. These are women who understand the granular goings-on of our government and how it relates to county and state. They are woven into the fabric of our town such that I can count on running into them on the sidewalk. They will ask about my child or my neighbor and then remind me of important issues coming up before the board.

Knowledge; community; service; vision. This is the recipe for village governance that the Forge Ahead team is presenting to us this election cycle. This is the team I want to lead our village forward. I urge readers to vote for Foley, Eliza and Tweeps.

Laura Kaufman, Cold Spring

I fully support Kathleen Foley’s campaign for mayor of Cold Spring. Kathleen has shown throughout the years her dedication and passion to making Cold Spring a better place to live. Kathleen has served on the village’s Historic District Board and as village trustee and is intimately familiar with, and most competent to handle, the issues that face the village on a day-to-day basis.

In her current capacity of trustee, Kathleen brings a strong measure of objectiveness, intelligence, collaborative skills, reasoning, tireless determination and focused energy to address and resolve all matters that come before the Village Board. Kathleen listens,  encourages public discourse and gets things done.

As a member of the Cold Spring  Zoning Board for 12 years, I have had an additional vantage point to observe Kathleen aid this Village with resolving its many issues, and it is evident that her care and concern stem from a desire to enhance the village wherein she is raising her family. I am certain that all who know Kathleen have observed the qualities in her that I speak of here. I am very confident that Kathleen will be an excellent mayor to guide this village into the future.

I have read the platform objectives compiled by Kathleen and her very competent team of Eliza Starbuck and Tweeps Phillips-Woods that address improvements to the village’s infrastructure, quality-of-life issues, encouraging public input on village issues, working closely with the village service providers, and more, and I agree that these very pertinent objectives will serve the village well going forward.

John Martin, Cold Spring

I am voting for Foley, Tweeps and Eliza in the upcoming village election because they have demonstrated to me their ability and commitment to see this village thrive in the future. To me, their opponents have not.

After learning (sadly) about both sides of the voting petition dispute between Mayor Merandy and Trustee Foley, I concluded each had reason to be upset with the other. I admire, respect and thank Mayor Merandy for a truly great job as our mayor. As important, trustees Early and Murphy worked tirelessly to move the village ahead. The contributions of all three cannot be underestimated: The village was not in a great place when they took over and they righted the ship. I know because I was there and saw it every day.

That said, I refuse to let the current dispute stop me from voting for the candidates I truly believe will successfully guide this village forward in the coming years: Kathleen Foley, village trustee, longtime vice chair of the Historic District Review Board, mom. Tweeps Phillips Woods, village trustee, has managed multimillion dollar park transportation and economic development projects throughout the city of New York, mom. Eliza Starbuck, Main Street store owner and former president of the Chamber of Commerce.

We need independent clear thinkers who have demonstrated their commitment and ability to put the needs and wants of our village first. That is why I’m voting for Foley, Tweeps and Eliza.

Donald MacDonald, Cold Spring

Early voting has begun and next week we will learn whether or not our candidates have been successful in their bid for office. For those of you have not voted yet, there is still time and your vote is important.

I now live in the village of Cold Spring and the choice could not be clearer. The team of Kathleen Foley, Eliza Starbuck and Tweeps Phillips Woods are the obvious choice for anyone interested in facing the future head on. Their opponents represent a backward-facing, honey-glazed idealization of what is needed to take on the challenges we face as a village. Problem solving requires hard work.

As to the sheriff, I can only say that Robert Langley has demonstrated time and again his willingness to work hard to make Putnam County a safe place to live. The county legislature and the county executive seem more concerned with hampering him in his goal to improve policing than they are in safety. We need to return Langley to the sheriff’s department.

Speaking of the county Legislature, that bastion of Club Putnam, Nancy Montgomery has fought valiantly against the entrenched forces that represent our county government. Her opponent had her opportunity to represent Philipstown, but was turned out of office. We need someone fighting for our interests.

The Philipstown Town Board will be well served with John Van Tassel as its chair.  Jason Angell is already proving his determination to make a difference in our community. His ideas are fresh and forward thinking. Megan Cotter will make an admirable addition. New ideas with established ties to the community.

Lithgow Osborne, Cold Spring

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.