Last week the Plattekill Democratic Party held their caucus to select candidates for town offices for the fall 2017 election. In quick succession and without challenge, the party faithful chose Juan Figueroa for the office of Town Supervisor and Gladys Figueroa (no relation) and incumbent Cindy Delgado for Town Council and Jamie Pagan for Highway Superintendent. Pagan was unable to attend the caucus.
Chairwoman Rose Ann Guerrieri invited the candidates to address the caucus.
Juan Figueroa said he moved to Plattekill with his parents in 1979 “and I’ve been here ever since.” He served 22 years in the U. S. Marine Corps, retiring as a Chief Warrant Officer 3. He said he was promoted 10 times from Private to Master Sargent. He also ran the units budget and was the Operations Officer, sending personnel overseas and bringing them back home. Figueroa is a Veteran himself, having served in Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He was was a NYS Trooper and retired after 25 years on the job.
“I could have moved years ago but I refused to move. Why, because I love this town and I love the people in it and that is why I am running for Town Supervisor,” he said.
Figueroa asked what has happened to the Master Plan that hasn’t seen the light of day in years. “There’s no infrastructure in this town, there’s no business in this town, there’s no downtown in this town. You go anywhere else around here, and I’ve been here for 38 years, and there’s a downtown. There is nothing in this town, why is that?”
Figueroa said he respects the job of those who are in office “but I think it’s time for a new revival in this town. A lot of people call Plattekill the doormat of Ulster County; its not the doormat, it’s the front door of Ulster County.”
Figueroa said residents are leaving Plattekill in large numbers “and the people who are in office aren’t doing anything about it and that’s why I am running.”
Figueroa said it is important for people to work together regardless of party affiliation if Plattekill is ever going to move forward.
“I will not talk down to anybody. I will have an open door policy [and] I will not play favoritism among the fire departments,” he said. “I will tell you now that I will be for the people. This should be a government for the people and by the people.”
Figueroa said he does not want to see over-development in Plattekill but instead he wants to create a small town atmosphere that will attract business that will keep the youth from leaving when they come of age.
“We need to think of the future of this town and the status quo just isn’t working,” he said.
Figueroa pointed out that Democrats are not allowed in to the Republican caucus but the Democrats welcomed the Republicans, with most of the present Republican majority Town Board in attendance. He highlighted this to show that “we are all in the same boat together. As long as we do what’s right for the people, that is what we need to do and if we have to do it together then lets do it together. If we keep fighting each other we’re not going to get anything done…So I am running to give people a choice because they need a choice.”
Gladys Figueroa thanked the caucus for nominating her for Town Council, saying that when she came of age she registered as a Democrat. She served as a police officer in New York City.
“If I am elected I will continue the policies of my former job and that is to treat all the residents of Plattekill with courtesy, professionalism and respect,” she concluded.
Cindy Delgado is the sole Democrat on the Town Board and is running for a fourth term.
“I do a good job, I do know what I am doing and I am experienced,” she said. “I do put Plattekill above politics first and foremost and I work really well with a bipartisan board.”
Delgado said she is very proud of her accomplishments on the Town Board.
“I really do come prepared. I really do read everything and I put the people of this town first and whoever sits on this board, their first priority is this town and how it should be run and what gets done,” she said. “Yes we do keep a good budget and yes we do make sure that everybody can live in the Town of Plattekill…I will continue to do the best job I can humanly do.”
Guerrieri invited Pam Krimsky, who is running for the Ulster County Legislature in District 9, to address the caucus.
“I’m in your district and that’s why I’m here,” she said. “Plattekill as part of the larger community is important to me and I believe the people are not being well represented.”
Krimsky favors development but not strip malls in style.
“We need jobs and training so badly in southern Ulster County, not minimum wage jobs [but] living wage jobs,” she said. “We have the money, we have the facilities, we need to make work a priority. There is no reason why we’re lagging behind the rest of the world, not at all.”
Sue Sullivan is running for Congress in New York’s 19th District, which comprises all of Columbia, Delaware, Ostego, Greene, Schoharie, Sullivan, and Ulster counties and parts of Broome, Dutchess, Montgomery and Rensselaer counties. She graduated from Cooperstown High School in Ostego and is currently a resident of the Town of Plattekill.
Sullivan has served the community for 30 years, as an executive at St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital, has developed the communications program at the Mohonk Preserve “and I am a small business owner that really works to retain and expand job creation in the Hudson Valley.”
Sullivan stressed the importance of health care.
“I believe in a single payer but I am also pragmatic enough to know we’re not going to get there in a straight line,” she said. “We need to fix the ACA and we need to move toward a public option.” She said she receives her own health insurance through the New York Health Exchange, saying as a politician she knows what the present system is all about.
Sullivan said she is running for Congress for three reasons “One; because I have credible, measurable experience and a track record of working hard and accomplishing things by bringing people together rather than polarizing folks. Two; this is my home, this crazy district is actually where I grew up. I understand what it is to live here and I understand what it is to try and raise a family here; Third is not a reason to support me but I want more women sitting in that House of Representatives.”
As Sullivan mulled over a run for Congress, a comment from her 20 year-old son stopped her in her tracks. He said “nothing good can come from you being involved in politics, its bad.” She responded by saying “if you believe that, you’re the future, there’s no hope and I cannot live without hope. I cannot live with the thought that what’s happening in this world is going to continue and I must stand up. I want to restore dignity to this office. I want to deliver, I want to be held accountable and I want to work with all of you.”
By Mark Reynolds