Sustainable Economic growth
Attracting and retaining families in Orange County requires a combination of creating well-paying local jobs, efficient transit access to the job market in other areas of the county and in the surrounding New York City metro area, and a reduced tax burden. The key demographic required for economic growth, 25-40 year olds, are leaving Orange County faster than any other group. People want to work where they live, and local working families are the heartbeat of a healthy growing economy. Local placemaking initiatives are gaining support and momentum across the county and are capitalizing on all the benefits that Orange County has to offer.
It is unacceptable that a large portion of our workers are earning much less than the living wage and are unable to support themselves, let alone a family. While politicians in Washington DC are jeopardizing the health coverage of these same hard working families, the economic situation is becoming untenable. I support the mission of organizations attracting business and jobs to Orange County, but we must scrutinize the details of taxpayer funded incentives and long term benefits that go to big businesses which already have access to capital markets. Businesses which receive breaks must be held accountable for creating the jobs and benefits they promise to our county. We must also reject massive real estate development and industrial projects which ignore more critical needs, do not address the dire condition of our cities, endanger public health, and damage our environment.
Transparency in GOVERNMENT
Although not reflective of the diverse demographics of our county, for decades our government has been dominated by a small circle of career politicians whose allegiance is to their political party rather than the people they serve. Many aspects of our government operate behind closed doors where conflicts of interest and cronyism run rampant- important decisions are being made that put our community at risk and cost the taxpayers money without the proper oversight, accountability, or visibility.
I will ask the right questions and will not accept this lack of transparency- the public deserves better. All departments, programs, and agencies must be independently assessed to identify and eliminate fraud, waste, and abuse that harms taxpayers and erodes trust in government. I will prioritize meeting constituents, regardless of their background or political affiliation, so everyone has an opportunity to share ideas about how we will make Orange County an even better place for us to raise our families in and to hand down to future generations.
Fighting the OPIOID EPIDEMIC
Heroin and opioid painkiller abuse has torn apart families in Orange County moreso than many other New York counties. I will lead the fight and dedicate resources towards finding better solutions to both sides of the opioid epidemic- supply and demand. On the supply side, we have to focus on interrupting the drug supply lines and clamping down on associated criminal activity. We must leverage data about prescription drug distribution, drug usage patterns, and social media in a way that respects privacy of citizens but helps us identify risks before they result in tragic loss. But, we can’t jail our way out of this problem.
On the demand side, we must identify and ramp up the services that are most effective in preventing, treating, and reducing chemical dependency. Economic opportunity and the availability of well-paying jobs (and the training and education to prepare for those jobs) are powerful weapons in the fight against this drug crisis. When people believe they can fulfill a productive role in society and support themselves and their family by finding work and working hard, they are less likely to lose hope and turn to drugs. Our social and economic systems desperately need reform because too many people don't see a future for themselves in our society.
PROtecting THE environment
Orange County’s natural environment is one of its greatest assets, and we must fight to protect it against unplanned and unsustainable development that pollutes our air, contaminates and stresses our water supply, and destroys natural habitats. Agriculture is a critical industry throughout many areas of Orange County, and our farming community needs support. Even six years after the Hurricane Irene disaster, much of our farmland is still in danger of catastrophic loss due to flooding issues that have not been properly mitigated by way of coordinated effort on behalf of the county and localities.
Safety and demand issues with our water supply, particularly in Newburgh, are not currently getting the attention they require and must be addressed with urgency. Protecting and regulating our watersheds and reservoirs to prevent and fix critical water supply issues must be a top priority, and better planning is needed to sustainably meet future water demands across the county.