City of Newburgh Councilman Anthony Grice announced his candidacy for Orange County Clerk on the first of the month. If elected, he would be the first African American holding the position since its creation in 1702.
Not only has Grice served as councilman since 2018, he is also an educator at the Newburgh Enlarged City School District. He had worked with the Newburgh Head Start program, worked to secure grants and partnered with different agencies to provide mentoring. He is currently a reading teacher.
“[If elected,] I’m bringing the experience with me of the grants that I’ve worked on, the programs I’ve been involved in, and the experience of teaching my own students,” said Grice.
As councilman, he has helped revitalize the city’s transportation advisory committee, raised the illegal dumping fee and pushed the city towards renewable energy with the support for the more recent community choice aggregation resolution, which allows the city to get the best price for energy.
“I felt the timing was right,” said Grice. “It’s always difficult to leave a seat that you love. I love being a councilman and the City of Newburgh, so that is a difficult choice and will always be at the forefront of my mind.”
He said if he is elected it would give him the opportunity to help more than just the City of Newburgh but the entire county.
“I know I can have an even bigger impact at that level,” said Grice.
Grice was born and raised in Newburgh. He is married to Hasina, who is the business owner of Perfect Sweets in Newburgh, and they have three children. His family’s roots in Newburgh go all the way back to the 1940s when his grandfather moved here from Virginia, who later opened a barbershop on South Johnston Street, which was in operation until the 1990s.
Grice said that being the first African American in the seat would “bring representation and allow that voice in city government and other aspects.”
“I feel the position needs representation of the voices that have not been there,” said Grice. “The voice and perspective is missing.”
You can often find Grice out in the community collaborating with local organizations with different events like food giveaways, street cleanups and more – something he plans to continue if elected.
If elected as Orange County Clerk, he promises to understand “what current residents are experiencing, while ensuring fair treatment for all residents.” His key campaign issues include responsive services for the community, establishing satellite offices in underserved communities, adhering to the New York State Green Light Law and a commitment to equitable treatment for all.
“I bring the experience of working class people who struggled and went through some things and are trying to live a better life, not just for themselves but their children,” said Grice.
He hopes to create satellite sites across the county in each municipality to bring resources directly to each community, which would especially help those who face transportation or internet issues.
“While doing things online is great, not everyone has access to the internet and even if they do have access to the internet, sometimes they need the guide on the side,” said Grice. “When you bring the services to them, it increases the opportunity they have to fill whatever they need out. It is less of a burden for them when they would normally have to drive all the way out to Goshen.”
Grice said the satellite sites would also contribute to a sense of community.
His opponent in the November election is Kelly Eskew, current Deputy County Clerk and Crawford Town Councilwoman. She is also a former Crawford Town Clerk.
“I believe I have the local and county experience to be the county clerk,” Eskew said. “My whole career has been as a clerk helping people and that’s the main reason that I do everything that I do. I love helping people and I want to continue to help the people of Orange County.”
Eskew originally sought the county clerk position in 2013, but stepped aside after then-Assemblywoman Annie Rabbitt decided to seek the seat. Rabbitt announced on Nov. 17, that she will not seek a third term.
“Annie has served Orange County with dignity and class,” said Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus. “I’m proud to call her a friend and I thank her for all of her hard work and support during her tenure as county clerk. I’ve had the pleasure of working with her closely and getting to know her well. I can say without hesitation that Annie’s number one priority was always providing residents with the most streamlined and efficient services and she has done a fantastic job. I’m sad to see Annie leave but I wish her a well-deserved, adventure-filled retirement.”
Grice said his grassroots campaign will spend the next several months holding different events both via Zoom and traveling COVID-safe across the county as well. If Grice is elected, his seat as a City of Newburgh councilman would need to be filled.