Next Tuesday’s election for Ulster County Executive is a rematch from April, when Democrat Pat Ryan defeated Republican Jack Hayes. The position was opened when Democrat Mike Hein resigned to join the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance in February.
Ryan will appear on the Democratic, Independence and Working Families lines on the November ballot.
“I have dedicated my life to public service from West Point to two combat deployments in Iraq, to serving as your County Executive,” he said. “I am running to continue serving the community where I was born and raised and to lead our County forward with a vision that will protect our environment, tackle the opioid epidemic, and hold the line on taxes to ensure that our County remains affordable to live in.”
Besides graduating from West Point and his military service overseas, Ryan returned home and established a successful tech company that grew to 150 employees with a budget of more than $25 million.
Ryan highlighted his top areas of concern in the county.
“Making sure that our County is affordable is essential. I am thrilled that my proposed budget lowers taxes to its lowest rate in a decade,” he said. “Everywhere I go, I also hear from people how they have been impacted by the opioid epidemic. I have made this a major priority of mine by committing the County to reduce opioid deaths by 50% in two years. Additionally, we have secured $3 million dollars in funding to address this crisis head on. Lastly, protecting our environment is essential. I have committed the County to use 100% renewable energy by 2030 and doubled our renewable energy by turning an old brown field in Saugerties into a solar array.”
His challenger, Hayes, a former State Trooper Ulster County Legislator and Town of Gardiner Supervisor, is chairman of the Ulster County Conservative Party. At a recent debate hosted by the Daily Freeman, he attached Ryan’s stance on immigration, saying that he would rescind Ryan’s executive order about aiding immigration enforcement – the”sanctuary county” law – his “first day” in office.
The executive order signed in June bars county employees from asking about immigration status unless it is necessary to determine eligibility for a program or is required by law; bars employees from disclosing information to federal immigration authorities engaged in civil immigration enforcement unless required by law; and bars employees from giving immigration authorities access to defendants in police custody unless there is a signed judicial warrant.
“The Ulster County Sheriff’s Office did an exemplary job of fostering interagency cooperation under Sheriff VanBlarcum,” Hayes wrote in a July letter to the editor. “The Ulster County Executive Order to protect illegal aliens and refuse information to federal police agencies is a step backwardto a dangerous place. I suggest the Ulster County Executive and Sheriff rethink this policy.”