As the outgoing Dutchess County legislator for District 16, I am writing to give my wholehearted endorsement to Yvette Valdes Smith, the Democratic candidate to be my successor.

Through her work as an educator and community advocate, and as she has campaigned, Yvette has shown herself to be the best candidate to represent the residents of Beacon and Fishkill. I join a long and impressive list of organizations that have already endorsed Yvette’s campaign.

I authored the law expanding the opening hours of liquor stores in the county. Ironically, we had to fight tooth and nail to pass this simple, pro-business and consumer-friendly legislation against opposition from the Republican majority and administration.

That’s just one in a long list of local examples of the Republican Party’s drift into corruption and insurrection. American Rescue Plan funds — money meant to aid local working families in overcoming the hardships brought on by the pandemic — were spent on a new clubhouse and batting cages at Dutchess Stadium. Republicans in the Legislature have attempted to disband a duly appointed bipartisan redistricting commission, claiming the commission was in violation of the law that created it. Now they want, through ballot Proposition 6, to reduce the size of the Legislature, shifting power away from Beacon. The list goes on.

Dutchess County needs vigilant, highly capable legislators to provide checks and balances to the runaway power mongering and cronyism of the county executive. Yvette will be that legislator.

Her opponent has strung a large campaign banner at the intersection of Old Glenham Road and Route 52 in Beacon, creating a blind spot in an already tricky and dangerous roadway. It’s a perfect metaphor for his party’s governing philosophy: do anything to gain power, regardless of the real-world consequences. Think about that when you’re in the voting booth. Vote Yvette.

Frits Zernike, Beacon

I am proud to endorse Yvette Valdes Smith in her bid for Dutchess County Legislature. Yvette is an asset to our community, and we are so fortunate to have her focused and compassionate voice championing the families of District 16 [which includes Beacon’s Ward 4 and one election district in Ward 3].

I have had the pleasure of knowing Yvette in her capacity as a community advocate and leader through her work with the Stony Kill Foundation, as a fellow educator, and as a parent. Her kindness and conviction are evidenced in every relationship she builds and every challenge she tackles.

Yvette’s work with the Stony Kill Foundation is a wonderful example of her wholehearted investment in our local community. Her background as an educator combined with her passion for the farm’s rich history and natural beauty have made her an asset to the foundation’s board, and she has been integral in growing the visibility and accessibility of this precious local landmark and its programs.

Yvette has all of the qualities one wants in a leader, and she manages to deliver them with a smile and the familiarity you expect from a friend. Yvette Valdes Smith is the overwhelming choice to represent Beacon and Fishkill families looking for a forthright leader willing to truly listen in order to build a better community.

Kim Pennock, Beacon

I write this letter as a lifelong resident of Fishkill. I grew up here, went to school here, and continue to make my life here, and believe in the future of our area. I know that Yvette Valdes Smith is the best choice of candidate for County Legislator for District 16. She is a new voice — not a career politician. And she has served our community for years through volunteerism and teaching.

I have worked with her for many years at Stony Kill Farm and have seen her dedication, hard work and commitment firsthand. She is trustworthy and her devotion to public service and to her family knows no bounds. Her professional background as a public school teacher and as a local advocate who has sat on the environmental management council for the Dutchess County Legislature allows her to be both informed and independent. She will listen and work for everyone. She has my vote on Nov. 2 and I hope she has yours also.

Erin Moseman, Fishkill

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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.