Being covered in snow four months of the year can make you introspective. Any hint of sunny weather in February teases of spring. I imagine all of us "upstaters" look at sunlight breaking through winter clouds as an epiphany of sorts. It reminds us that we need to rise from our warm comfort zone and take on a new challenge. After my first year of living through a Saugerties' winter I had my own revelation. Looking around my community, I knew I wanted to change the status quo. This is my community and wanted to have a say in how my taxes are being spent. Forcing the courage to stand up at board meetings and community groups, I made my voice heard. Though politics in a small Village can be tightly knit.
In the Village of Saugerties alliances have existed for centuries. Alliances that may be based on ancestry, membership to an organization, church fellowship or businesses interests. American Legion, Knights of Columbus, Kiwanis and Lions Club are a few of the many community groups that have an influence on local elections. Patronage is also a serious consideration and is the essential glue that holds all of it together. Loyalty is sometimes earned through favors, special treatment and job security. Those in charge of hiring can wield their power at the ballot box and can be the most difficult obstacle to breach.
|2002 campaign photo with my running mate.|
You are like a hibernating bear, for the past several months you've been sheltered from the cold. Even though your reserves may be near exhausted, you have undoubtedly built up a lot of nervous energy. Get online and remind your friends that Village elections are on Tuesday, March 15. Attend local Village Board meetings and stand-up, introduce yourself to all your neighbors. Let them know the importance of voting in the upcoming election. There may not even be any challengers this year. However, the incumbents need to know that you are watching them closely. This is no time for complacency, especially with a struggling economy. Remind them that you will hold them accountable. And, then hold your head high and tell them in a matter of fact way, that you've been considering running in next year's primary.