Home » Pine Plains Candidates 2011

Pine Plains Candidates 2011

Name: Barry L. Hay
Age: 46
Town: Pine Plains
Years lived in town: 33
Occupation/background: Highway Superintendent.
Marital status, children: Married, one daughter.
Position running for, term length: Highway superintendent, four-year term.
Political party: Democrat
Running on what lines: Republican
Names of boards served in past and present: Lions Club.

In 100 words or less, explain what you think is the biggest issue facing your town and how you plan on addressing that once in office.
I have over 20 years experience within the Highway Department.  I have served as highway superintendent for the town of Pine Plains for the past year and a half.  I have been successful in maintaining the roads and keeping them safe over this time period, while keeping a watchful eye on a tight budget. I am looking forward to keeping the roads maintained and safe for many years to come.

Have you served in this position before and for how long?  
Yes, one and one-half years.

What makes your town special in comparison to  the whole of Dutchess County?  
Pine Plains is a small and caring community.  It is full of many individuals who share the same goals, to work together for the benefit of the community.

What makes you most qualified for the job?  
My 20 years experience working for this community within the Highway Department.

Name: Christi J. Acker
Age: 44
Town: Pine Plains
Years lived in town: 14
Occupation/background: Attorney employed as a principal court attorney to a County Court Judge
Marital status, children: Married to Steven K. Patterson.
Position running for, term length: Town Justice, four-year term.
Political party: I am not registered with any political party.
Running on what lines: Republican and Democrat
Names of boards served in past and present: Past co-chair of Pine Plains Conservation Advisory Committee (CAC).

In 100 words or less, explain what you think is the biggest issue facing your town and how you plan on addressing that once in office.
 I cannot answer this question as the ethical rules for judges prohibit me from commenting on any issue facing the town and from making “promises” as to how I might address a particular issue.
Have you served in this position before and for how long?  
I have had the honor of serving as town justice for the past four years.

What makes your town special in comparison to  the whole of Dutchess County?  
It would be easy to write about the incredible scenic beauty, or the fine merchants, restaurateurs and craftsmen who meet virtually every need. However, the real appeal is the people of Pine Plains. It is truly a community where people still smile and wave to each other. Neighbors might welcome you with homemade pickles, pies or cheese. Or they’ll offer warm meals or hot showers during lengthy power outages.  My husband and I have experienced all of the above. Moreover, we have met people from all walks of life and, without exception, we all share a love for our town.

What makes you most qualified for the job?
I have ‘on the job’ experience. I’ve had weekly civil and criminal calendars and presided over bench and jury trials. I’m an attorney with almost 20 years  experience in  criminal, civil, family, real estate and surrogate proceedings. At the start of my career I worked with my father in a small, general practice law firm as a trial attorney. I prosecuted child abuse and neglect cases as counsel to the Department of Social Services. For the last 11 years, I’ve been employed by the New York State Unified Court System as a principal court attorney to a County Court Judge.

Name: George Keeler
Age: 65
Town: Pine Plains
Years lived in town: 55
Occupation/background: Retired from Central Hudson as a splicing foreman after 39 years of service
Marital status, children:  Married to Ruth, four children.
Position running for, term length: Running for re-election as town councilman, a four-year term.
Political party: Republican
Running on what lines: Republican
Names of boards served in past and present: Currently a Town Board member and also a board member of the Evergreen Cemetery.
 
In 100 words or less, explain what you think is the biggest issue facing your town and how you plan on addressing that once in office.

An important issue is formulating a budget with the state mandate of keeping all increases at 2 percent or less. Two years ago, we were hit with a 3 percent increase from the state pension fund. They sent the bill, with a “please pay this amount” notation. Absolutely no way to compensate without taking the funds from other accounts or raising taxes. We have a zoning ordinance in effect which spells out what development will be permitted. Given the economic climate, I don’t foresee any improvements until the 2012 election at least. We also have to deal with the library.

Have you served in this position before and for how long?  
I have held this position for three terms, and I think this will be the most challenging given the situation with the economy. The objective of the [town Supervisor Gregg] Pulver, [Councilman Bob] Couse, and Keeler team is to do our best to serve the residents of Pine Plains with good government. We have a proven track record of fiscal responsibility and ask for your support on Election Day.

What makes your town special in comparison to  the whole of Dutchess County?  
It’s a nice county, but our area is really something special and the people that live here make it special. Stissing Mountain is really worth seeing, too. It’s the beacon of the town, and it’s a protected area. Hopefully there will never be any development up there, and I don’t think they can do anything up there. Then there is the fire tower, which is rare. I think there are only five fire towers left in the state. But this whole town, it really is unique and it’s a place you want to be, and to make your home.

What makes you most qualified for the job?  
I’ve had the job for many years now; I’m well versed in town  government and I know the area well and I’ve got a vested interest in this place, as does everybody who lives here. I feel I have a lot of background. Also, my work at Central Hudson took me all over the valley and I saw what a lot of towns did that didn’t turn out so well, so now when I hear ideas I can compare them. I’ve been on the board since 2000 and I like it, plus I’m retired and can donate my time.   

Name: James R. “Jim” Jackson
Age: 55
Town: Pine Plains
Years lived in town: 32 years (born/raised in Pine Plains; college/work in Buffalo, then San Jose, CA; returned to Pine Plains)
Occupation/background: Coach for 27 years; 22 years football coach at the college and university level. Five years at Stissing Mountain High School football, three years as varsity football head coach and two years as junior varsity basketball coach.
Marital status, children: Married 31 years to Margo Jackson, and have two daughters in college, Cora Lynn and Carmen Rosalind
Position running for, term length: Town council, four-year term.
Political party: Democratic
Running on what lines: Democratic
Names of boards served in past and present: Past Recreation Director for the town of Pine Plains. Past member, Pine Plains School District Principal Search Committee; Presidential Search Committee, San Jose City College, San Jose, Calif.; present parent member volunteer, Pine Plains School District Committee for Special Education; deacon for the First United Presbyterian Church in Pine Plains.  

In 100 words or less, explain what you think is the biggest issue facing your town and how you plan on addressing that once in office.
We should promote our community’s unique rural character, town center and strengthen school ties. Growth is imminent and needed. We can be creative and make the most of our community’s assets, rural beauty and the schools’ central location. We should promote businesses and support growth through recreation, bike trails, hiking trails, camping areas and the arts. The town should develop connections with the schools and youth and involve and mentor students in active citizenship, community service and life skills development (through town sports teams and clinics; projects with the library/community center; theater arts, local history and environmental resources).

Have you served in this position before and for how long?  
No

What makes your town special in comparison to  the whole of Dutchess County?  
Pine Plains has a wonderful sense of community, history and natural beauty. Most everybody knows one another and will reach out in good times and in bad. For example, soon after I returned with my wife and daughters to live in Pine Plains in 2001, I was in a serious car accident and spent months in hospitals. I will always be grateful for how the  community came together to support my family in so many ways throughout those many months. This is a strong, caring community. This community can solve any problem, including constructively addressing the issues noted above.

What makes you most qualified for the job?  
I am most qualified for the position on the town council because of my commitment, integrity and sincere intention to listen to the community and work together toward common goals.  

Name: Jim Mara
Age: 69
Town: Pine Plains
Years lived in town: 24
Occupation/background: Retired  educator  (36 years).
Marital status, children: Married with three children and three grandchildren.
Position running for, term length: Town Assessor,  four-year term.
Political party: Non-affiliated
Running on what lines: Republican, Democratic
Names of boards served in past and present: Presently, I serve on the Friends of Stissing Landmarks (FOSL) Board, Little Nine Partners Historical Society Board and Pine Plains Free Library Board of Trustees. Also serve as secretary and member of the Dutchess County Assessors’ Association.  I am also a member of the FRIENDS of the Pine Plains Library and the Dutchess County Medical Reserve Corps.   

In 100 words or less, explain what you think is the biggest issue facing your town and how you plan on addressing that once in office.
Few issues are more important than those which affect our pockets. Assessors cannot set the rate of taxation, but we can determine through a fair and equitable tax roll that all pay their fair share of the tax burden. Maintaining such a tax roll is a secondary issue which creates a tremendous challenge for small communities like Pine Plains, especially in these difficult economic conditions. The establishment and maintenance of a fair and equitable tax roll are two sides of the same coin, a coin which must be generated many times over. I will continue to get this job done.

Have you served in this position before and for how long?  
I have served as town assessor for nine years and as its appointed chair for the past four years.

What makes your town special in comparison to  the whole of Dutchess County?
Its peaceful environment free of commercial sprawl and filled with friendly people and great community spirit.
 
What makes you most qualified for the job?  
My experience and training as an assessor. Additionally, my contacts with state and county personnel and local town assessors create invaluable assets to support my work.

Name: Richard Diaz
Age: 65 plus
Town: Pine Plains
Years lived in town: 36 plus
Occupation/background: Architectural drafting, real estate, and mortgages
Marital status, children: Married, five children, 11 grandchildren.
Position running for, term length: Assessor, four-year term.
Political party: Democratic
Running on what lines: Democratic
Names of boards served in past and present: Previously tax  collector and archive organizer.

In 100 words or less, explain what you think is the biggest issue facing your town and how you plan on addressing that once in office.
I hope to help maintain the fine work of the current assessors’ office.

Have you served in this position before and for how long?  
N/A

What makes your town special in comparison to  the whole of Dutchess County?  
Pine Plains is a great place to live and a caring community.

What makes you most qualified for the job?  
My background and education fits well with the requirements of this position.

Name: Robert F. Couse
Age: 78
Town: Pine Plains
Years lived in town: 78
Occupation/background: IBM/Police Officer
Marital status, children: Wife, deceased; son, Robert Jr.; daughter, Lisa;  two grandchildren; two great-grandchildren
Position running for, term length: Town councilman, 4-year term
Political party: Republican
Running on what lines: Republican
Names of boards served in past and present: Town Recreation, Liaison to Police Department, Town Board (12 years), Liaison to Town Justices, Town Representative to Disaster Mitigation Group (multi-town)
 
In 100 words or less, explain what you think is the biggest issue facing your town and how you plan on addressing that once in office.
The biggest issue for Pine Plains is the anticipated growth of developments and homes in the Pine Plains area.  The board and I have to work with developers to see that the best interests of the town are served and that the recently passed zoning laws are followed.

Have you served in this position before and for how long?  
Town councilman for 12 years.

What makes your town special in comparison to  the whole of Dutchess County?  
Rural atmosphere and a good place to raise a family.

What makes you most qualified for the job?  
I have visited all of the homes in Pine Plains and talked with the people about what they feel about the town and where it is going.

Name: Scott Chase
Age: 57
Town: Pine Plains
Years lived in town: 57  
Occupation/background: Planner with Dutchess County 20 years, Executive director of the Dutchess County Water and Wastewater Authority 15 years, currently town assessor.
Marital status, children:  Married to Jeanne Valentine-Chase; children: Corbin and Mara.
Position running for, term length: Town Council, 4 years
Political party: Republican
Running on what lines: Democratic
Names of boards served in past and present:  
Past: Town Board as supervisor (three terms); Planning Board, chair (5 years); Harlem Valley Planning Partnership, board president
Present: Pine Plains Board of Assessors, elected town assessor; Pine Plains Zoning Board of Appeals, chair; Town of Pine Plains Trails and Bikeway Committee, chair; Friends of Stissing Landmarks Board of Directors,  president 20-plus years; Little Nine Partners Historical Society Board of Directors, vice president, past president and treasurer; First United Presbyterian Church of Pine Plains, Board of Session 20-plus years, treasurer; Hudson River Watershed Alliance, Board of Directors 5-plus years; Pine Plains United, Board of Directors 3-plus years

In 100 words or less, explain what you think is the biggest issue facing your town and how you plan on addressing that once in office.
A decline in public awareness and community participation is an issue of concern.  If the ideal of a democracy is to have the most people involved in shaping our community decisions, we have much room, and I believe opportunity, for improvement.   We should increase participation through better communication including the greater use of the town website, email notices, broadcasting of meetings and through the use of electronic calling/texting for emergency notices and other notices if people elect to be contacted.   As a community, we all need to work together to help each other.  Volunteers can help keep taxes low.

Have you served in this position before and for how long?  I served on the Town Board for three terms (6 years) as Town Supervisor from 1987 to 1992.

What makes your town special in comparison to  the whole of Dutchess County?  
The combination of a well defined community center, extraordinary natural beauty and people who appreciate living in a small town makes Pine Plains special.  

What makes you most qualified for the job?  
As a professional planner I have spent my entire career working throughout Dutchess County. I’ve had experience at the local and regional level in managing community development. Great care is required to insure new development is integrated with old to bring the maximum benefit to the community without increasing the costs of services. I’ve had broad experience in negotiating development projects and in writing and managing large grant projects, which Pine Plains will benefit from. I have served as a volunteer throughout my life and will encourage others to work together to make Pine Plains the best it can be.
 

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