There are essentially two qualities that we should look for in a village mayor. First, the individual must be a capable, experienced administrator of essential village services. Second, we need someone with passion and a vision for how we can move forward as a community. Several of the mayoral candidates have one quality or the other, but I believe that only one has both, and that candidate is Jason West.
Based on his previous service as mayor, Jason West is probably best known for the second quality, but many overlook his skill and effectiveness as a municipal manager. During his time as mayor, he secured grants, balanced the budget, maintained positive working relationships with village staff and the volunteer fire department and effectively oversaw key services such as water and road maintenance.
Jason’s passion for this community and his vision for how we can improve are well known. He launched several forward thinking initiatives during his time in office, from socially responsible housing and development policies to measures designed to protect local businesses to environmental innovations such as the installation of solar panels on Village Hall and the development of a more ecologically sound approach to sewage treatment. His principled stand in support of gay marriage not only placed New Paltz on the right side of history, it undoubtedly yielded great benefits by attracting attention and drawing tourist dollars to our unique community.
I am grateful to those who are willing to serve our village and I have a good deal of respect for all of the mayoral candidates. Among them there are competent administrators and impassioned advocates for worthy causes. But in my view Jason West possesses the balance of managerial ability and vision that is right for New Paltz. I hope you will join me in voting for him on May 3.