People often ask me how I became so involved in our local community. I usually brush it off by saying, “I’m not sure, I had children and I guess felt I needed to be more involved.” The truth is, I can pinpoint the moment I took on my first big active role. I was sitting in Village Hall listening to then Mayor West speak on global warming after watching “An Inconvenient Truth.” Jason talked about getting things done at the community level. Afterwards, he asked if I would chair a task force. I resisted at first, thinking that I had no time to take this on with small children at home. However, it is because of my children that I said yes and got involved.
In 2007, an energetic new task force of dedicated volunteers proceeded to tackle a number of projects including the painted recycling bins you see throughout New Paltz. We also worked to promote and distribute over 3,000 reusable tote bags. The bins were an affordable and unique way of taking care of a big and real problem -- the fact that we needed to recycle, morally and legally, when we had no mechanism or funds to do so. We brought reusable totes to community members through business sponsorships as a more effective and efficient way to incentivize the concept of reuse. It worked. Today, in our community is more aware of the importance of reuse and the totes are commonplace.
Chairing the task force that became GreenWorks was the foundation that led to my involvement in other big community projects, even a job at Water Street Market where I focus on providing thought-provoking, educational events that are fun and promote sustainability.
I am grateful to Jason for helping me take the first step towards community engagement by asking me to volunteer, but that is not the only reason why I will be pulling the lever for him. I support his candidacy because I know Jason to be a mayor of the people. While in office, he was always available to discuss concerns. I approached him about a traffic safety issue in my neighborhood where he assessed the situation and immediately put it on the Village Board agenda, resulting in two stop signs at a very precarious intersection, improving traffic and pedestrian safety.
Due to our village’s aging sewer infrastructure, my driveway was of spewing septic waste. It was not just disgusting, but unsanitary. I had been getting nowhere for months with the DEC and Riverkeeper. When I brought my frustration to Jason, he heard me out and quickly garnered the necessary village representatives to trouble shoot a way to fix the problem.
As an active community member, mother and homeowner, I am ready to get enthusiastic again about our village administration -- to feel that we can have a sustainable community and to have a mayor back in office who believes its village has a voice. I am ready to vote for Jason West on May 3! Please join me.