Letter to the Editor: Dutchess County Legislature Lacks Forceful Public Servants


Dutchess County Legislature Lacks Forceful Public Servants
Since beginning my campaign to represent  our community in the Dutchess County Legislature, I have enjoyed many conversations with friends and neighbors about the local issues that are important to them, like emergency medical services, public transportation, and economic opportunity. During many of these conversations, residents have felt the need to apologize for not knowing who their representative in the Legislature is, what their priorities are, or how they can work with their representative. The truth is, there’s no need to apologize – instead, our current representatives should apologize for the lack of accessibility and communication with their constituents.
The truth of the matter is that many County Legislators benefit from the current lack of information and visibility around their role, priorities, and accomplishments. The current low-information environment favors the status quo, where they continue to get elected and can avoid answering inconvenient questions: what have they done to support important youth programs like 4H? What are they doing to improve support for volunteer EMS providers in our area to ensure coverage? And what is their position on campaign finance reform legislation that would limit the influence of big donors on the county government?
Unfortunately, maintaining the status quo and avoiding discussions like these means that our community is lacking forceful, effective public servants. Meaningfully changing this dynamic requires more than just opposing the current legislators – it means voting for candidates with a history of service and hard work. My own understanding of public service is rooted in my experience as a submarine officer in the United States Navy, where I dedicated myself to providing all I had to offer to the needs of my shipmates and our country.  I continued my service as a civilian by working as a consultant for nonprofits and government agencies, such as the State University of New York, the New York State Government, and the Cleveland Metro School District. Each of these experiences has taught me about the value of hard work in the service of others.
The Dutchess County Legislature has the potential to accomplish so much good for the community we all love.  More effective public service would mean always being present for discussions that impact the community, be it at Town Board meetings, Town Halls, or other community forums. It would mean actively finding new and innovative ways to be accessible to constituents. And it would mean proactively bringing together stakeholders for important discussions. Instead of avoiding constituents, an effective County Legislator could be the hub of meaningful collaboration, thoughtful discussion, and real improvement to the quality of life of all Dutchess County residents.
It is incumbent upon the Dutchess County Legislature to educate our community about who they are, what they do, and what we can accomplish together; and it’s their responsibility to be the best voice of the residents they serve.  Only when the Legislature demonstrates this commitment to service, will our community’s assets flourish and priorities be addressed.
Jimmy Pearson is a Navy Veteran and candidate for Dutchess County Legislature in District 25, which includes the Towns of Amenia and Washington and part of Pleasant Valley. He lives in Pleasant Valley with his family and can be reached at jimmy4dutchess@gmail.com
Letters to the Editor may be submitted anytime via Email at TheHarlemValleyNews@Gmail.com

Author: Harlem Valley News