Tell us the story of how you came to Yorktown.
Twenty-five years ago, my husband and I were looking for a community where we could raise our family. We lived farther south at the time, but we’d always come to Yorktown to go to a restaurant called Huckleberry’s and to go shopping and it stuck in our heads as a great place to live. We found a solid, affordable house where we could raise our children [now 26 and 23], in the Lakeland School District which attracted us because of its strong reputation, size and diversity. It made sense for us to set down roots here.
What do you do for a living?
I’m an attorney and I practiced law for 34 years. I’m not currently working as a lawyer, but my legal experience comes in very handy in the work I’m now doing as Deputy Commissioner of the Probation Department. It’s a community supervision organization that works to both hold offenders accountable and help them address underlying factors, such as drug addiction, in order to help them make better choices, reduce recidivism and thereby further public safety.
How would that inform your work on the Town Board?
Over my entire career, I’ve spent a lot of time listening to people and also researching, seeing how seemingly different issues are related, working together and finding common ground in order to get the job done. I know how to identify problems, cut through red tape and I know how to find solutions. I appreciate the importance of transparency, fiscal responsibility, creating workable budgets and building partnerships between institutions, and I would bring that expertise as well.
I also have to distill complicated issues into an understandable form for many different audiences. In the courtroom, you have to speak to many people at once—a judge, other lawyers, clients, their families, spectators and jurors—and that’s a skill that would be valuable in town government.
What issues would you target if elected?
I want to attract more businesses here, and I want to think creatively about who can really help us do that so that we both increase our tax base and plan a robust future for our town. There are lots of wonderful, engaged young people here, and many of them are very attuned to the needs of our community; I would love to create a partnership with young people to look to the future about businesses in the town, as well as our stewardship of the environment.
I see a town that’s rich in assets, like the bike trails, Turkey Mountain, the theater in town, successful working farms, beautiful open space—and we need to figure out how to link them together, build on them and create an economy around them that generates revenue and prepares Yorktown for the future.
I would also focus on mental illness and addiction—things I address in my work every day, and issues that affect many of our neighbors. There’s a lot of work to do to destigmatize and support individuals, families and our first responders, especially our police department in the fight to restore people in our town to good health and productivity. And, I want to engage young people in the political process and listen to their ideas. I think it’s a responsibility of local government to get that in motion.
What other responsibilities do you think local government should take on?
Town government is about quality of life, making plans for the future, and finding ways to make life better for our residents and attract new ones. I do not view it as a forum to discuss larger philosophical and moral issues. Government has enough trouble with credibility without elected officials using it as a platform to advance their own personal agendas.
And I believe that the truth is really important. Oversimplifying or mischaracterizing issues to gain political or personal advantage shouldn’t work in relationships between people, and it absolutely should not be tolerated from elected officials. They have an obligation to be honest with you, and I guarantee I will do that.
Anything else you’d like to add? I am really hoping to see more women in government. I’ve been in leadership roles for many years, and increasingly, I think we’re all coming to realize something we women have known for a long time: Women are very hard working, and we do not quit, because we CAN’T quit. We plow through any number of obstacles to get the job done. We bring a more collaborative approach to solving problems, and every branch of government could benefit from that — including, especially, our Town Board.