The best parts of the campaign have been meeting and talking to my neighbors in Dutchess and Columbia counties and participating in all kinds of Hudson Valley events.
This Saturday, I marched with the Columbia County Democratic Committee in the City of Hudson Flag Day Parade, which is organized every year by the Hudson-Elks. What a great event! Thousands of people lined both sides of Warren Street and cheered the marchers on. As I went along the parade route and shook peoples’ hands, I was heartened by the enthusiasm of the crowd for this community tradition.
From the parade, I went to Tymor Park to participate in the Dutchess County Democratic Committee’s Candidates Forum. I spoke about the need for creative job development. Unfortunately, more than 15,000 people in our area are unemployed, many more are under employed and those who do have jobs feel insecure about their future.
We need sustainable jobs that will put our neighbors back to work while still respecting and preserving the character of our communities, our towns and our environment.
Farming is our past, our present and our future in this region. It must remain a vital part of the economy. With tourism already one of the our biggest industries — bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars — our world class arts, history, foods and farms are natural growth areas for cultural and agricultural tourism.
We need green jobs — jobs that will increase the energy efficiency of our homes and businesses, reduce the cost of heating and cooling them, and pass those savings on to residents and business owners. Reducing our dependence on overseas oil is a matter of homeland security.
I ended the day at the Annual Taste of Millbrook fundraiser for the Millbrook Education Foundation, which provides financial support for Millbrook’s public schools. I am proud to serve on the board. Slashed school aid and unfunded mandates are putting a tremendous strain on our school districts, and organizations like the Millbrook Education Foundation can really make a difference.