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Ulster Co. exec candidates talk issues

Apr 15, 2019 12:30 pm
Patricia Doxsey is reporting for the Daily Freeman the two candidates for Ulster County executive sat down for an hourlong conversation April 12, at the Daily Freeman office in Kingston. Gardiner residents, Jack Hayes and Pat Ryan agreed that the county must do more to attract economic development and jobs, but they differed on the issues of marijuana legalization and criminal justice reform. Both men are running in two elections, Hayes on the Republican and Conservative lines, and Ryan as the Democrat and Working Families candidate. The winner of the special election on April 30, will serve through the end of 2019. In November, voters will choose who will serve a four-term term, beginning Jan. 1, 2020. Ryan said the county must hold the line on taxes and work to attract good-paying jobs. He called for the implementation of a green new deal for the county, with a goal of 100 percent renewable energy use in 10 years and the creation of job-training programs and mentorships to fill the demand that will be created for jobs in those areas. He also wants broadband internet services developed throughout the county to attract more internet-based jobs, as well as greater attention to the opioid epidemic. Like Ryan, Hayes said the county needs to focus on economic growth and attracting good-paying jobs. Hayes would focus particular attention on southern Ulster County, including the town of Wawarsing, which he said has been decimated for decades following the loss of manufacturing operations and resorts. He would approach the state about possibly leasing or selling prison lands that he said now lay fallow to farmers in the area. Hayes, a former state trooper, criticized a series of criminal justice reforms laws recently passed by the state Legislature, saying the measures could place an enormous financial burden on counties. Ryan said his experience, as a former U.S. Army captain and as the founder of a technology company, has provided him with the experience necessary to run Ulster County's government. Hayes pointed to his experience as a former Gardiner town supervisor and former member of the Ulster County Legislature. Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.