June 8, 2023

Tricia Bowen was appointed by the Ulster County Legislature final week to complete out the yr representing District 20, after that chair was left vacant with the departure of Eve Walter. The appointment adopted accusations of secrecy within the choice course of by New Paltz residents and a few legislators, in addition to some issues {that a} former legislator who was censured may additionally be nominated. 

The appointment befell throughout a particular assembly of the Legislature held on Tuesday, Could 9 and was handed by a 15-2 margin break up alongside occasion traces. Whereas Democrats in the end voted in favor of the appointment, some within the occasion criticized the method, claiming there was no discover that Bowen was the favored candidate till shortly earlier than the assembly started. 

“We’ve completed it once more and we’ve turned what may have been a reasonably constructive second into this catastrophe with a lot negativity,” mentioned Joseph Maloney (D-Saugerties). “So little communication, a handful of individuals deciding every thing, like all the time…This all may have been completed so a lot better, however that wouldn’t have been good for the handful of individuals, the cabal that management every thing up right here on the sixth ground.”

Maloney’s movement to postpone the vote “so this can be a actual act of the physique and never a coronation of the highly effective inside this legislature” was unsuccessful. 

Fellow Democrat Chris Hewitt (Rochester and Wawarsing) felt that the method wasn’t clearly detailed sufficient, significantly because it pertains to timelines and transparency. 

“Perhaps it’s extra like a capability or want to maneuver shortly and never inform everyone every thing on a regular basis, which I do know is just not possible,” Hewitt mentioned.“However I’m in favor of a course of and a constitution revision probably that may make this more practical and never have me ready the place I don’t even know who was being proposed till two days beforehand.”

Phil Erner (D-Metropolis of Kingston) mentioned that whereas he would assist Bowen’s nomination, it was a “tough and fraught course of” that was each “un-Democratic and un-Republican.” 

A couple of members of the general public additionally criticized how the nomination was dealt with, together with Jane Schanberg, former president of the Ulster County Democratic Girls and a New Paltz resident. 

“As a voter, I had no illustration on this course of,” Schanberg mentioned.

Majority Chief Jonathan Heppner (D-Woodstock) disputed the claims of secrecy, noting that Bowen’s title had been mentioned in caucus after Walter introduced her plans to step down, including that it was essential to maneuver shortly to go away the district unrepresented for as brief a interval as doable. The latter was confirmed by chair Tracey Bartels (Gardiner and Shawangunk). 

“The Legislature has moved shortly to make sure a continuity of illustration for District 20,” mentioned Bartels in a press launch following the Could 9 assembly. “The city and village of New Paltz have had steady illustration in any respect legislative periods and votes since Legislator Walter stepped down. I sit up for working with Legislator Bowen for the rest of the 2023 time period. Her experience and robust staff management abilities can be an asset to the legislature,”

Walter left the Legislature in mid-April after beforehand asserting she wouldn’t search reelection to a 3rd two-year time period. 

“My three-and-a-half years as county legislator representing the Village of New Paltz have been an unimaginable expertise,” wrote Walter in an e-mail assertion. 

Walter mentioned she was stepping down as a result of elevated calls for from her function as director of analysis and analysis at AllianceChicago, a Chicago-based firm which states its mission is to “enhance private, group and public well being by way of progressive collaboration,” specializing in healthcare collaboration; well being data know-how; and well being analysis and training. 

Bowen, who will fill out the rest of  is a cyber safety knowledgeable specializing in Id and Entry Administration (IAM) and at the moment serves because the IAM assistant director on the College of Rochester. She’s going to serve on the Ulster County Regulation Enforcement & Public Security Committee and the Committee of the Entire.

On the Could 9 assembly, Bowen mentioned she had no plans to remain within the Legislature after her time period expires on the finish of the yr. 

“That is an interim place for me,” she mentioned.“I’m not on the lookout for a job in politics, I’m pleased with the job that I’ve proper now. That is an interim place in order that New Paltz can conduct an election and choose a candidate for this place arising in January.”

Previous to Bowen’s appointment, the Legislature additionally handled rumors that former Democratic Legislator Hector Rodriguez may be nominated to fill the District 20 seat, with Bartels studying a letter from Rodriguez that he had no real interest in the place and would refuse if nominated. Rodriguez was censured by a 17-5 in 2019 for inappropriate habits towards quite a few girls. 

Members of the general public and legislators alike spoke out in opposition to the likelihood that Rodriguez can be thought of for any purpose. Amongst them was Legislator Megan Sperry (D-Cities of Esopus and New Paltz), who mentioned that it had come to her consideration that two legislators — one Democrat, one Republican — had deliberate on nominating Rodriguez as a protest in opposition to the choice course of. Sperry didn’t title the 2 legislators alleged to have made that consideration. 

“I can solely think about how good it’s to be a cisgendered white man who has by no means been on the receiving finish of sexual harassment or sexual assault,” Sperry mentioned.“However I can not sit right here quietly letting my colleagues who’ve little, if any, respect for assault victims be the loudest voices on this room or conveniently exterior of it…It’s appalling to me that my colleagues on this physique would wait till simply days earlier than this assembly to place up a nominee with such a marred historical past, simply because the method was to not their liking…The mere point out of nominating this particular person to this physique is traumatizing and re-triggering to not solely his victims, however to girls all over the place who’ve been on the receiving finish of harassment and assault. And I’m a kind of girls. And to the opposite girls who’ve been triggered. I apologize for the way this misfortune has made you are feeling you deserve higher.”

Democrats Limina Grace Harmon and William Wheeler Murray will face off in a June 27 major election for the Democratic nod on the November 7 poll. Murray can be on the Working Households line. 

The submit Tricia Bowen is tapped to fill Eve Walter’s seat on the Ulster County Legislature first appeared on Hudson Valley One.