Bar­rett chal­lenged by coun­cil­woman in 106th Dis­trict

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Wil­liam J. Kem­ble news@free­manon­

In­cum­bent state Assem­bly­woman Didi Bar­rett’s bid for a third two-year term rep­re­sent­ing the 106th Dis­trict is be­ing chal­lenged by Copake town Coun­cil­woman Theresa “Terry” Sul­li­van.

Bar­rett, of 816 War­ren St., Hud­son, will be on the Demo­cratic, In­de­pen­dence and Work­ing Fam­i­lies lines, while Sul­li­van, of 12 Fairview Drive, Copake, will be on the Repub­li­can, Con­ser­va­tive and Re­form Party lines.

The 106th Assem­bly Dis­trict draws from the south­ern half of Columbia County — in­clud­ing Germantown, Liv­ingston, Cler­mont, Taghkanic and Gal­latin — and a swath of Dutchess County run­ning south­west from the town of North East to the town of Pough­keep­sie, in­clud­ing the North­ern Dutchess towns of Mi­lan, Pine Plains, Clin­ton and Hyde Park.

Didi Bar­rett

Bar­rett, 66, is a for­mer free­lance jour­nal­ist and mu­seum pro­fes­sional with the Amer­i­can Folk Art Mu­seum. She was first elected in 2012 and was un­suc­cess­ful in a bid for the state Se­nate in 2010.

Bar­rett has lived in the dis­trict for 29 years and with hus­band, David, has two adult chil­dren. She earned a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in com­mu­ni­ca­tions from UCLA in 1972, and re­ceived a master’s de­gree in Amer­i­can folk art from New York Univer­sity in 1985. She is a mem­ber of North­east Dutchess Friends and the Berk­shire Ta­conic Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion.

Bar­rett iden­ti­fied cre­at­ing jobs and train­ing pro­grams as a pri­or­ity.

“One way is an ini­tia­tive I have been work­ing on to de­velop pro­gram­ming to train the next gen­er­a­tion of trades peo­ple to work on his­toric prop­er­ties in our re­gion,” she said. “That in­cludes both pub­lic prop­er­ties, like the state his­toric sites and fed­eral his­toric sites, (as well as) old houses, old build­ings. There is a real short­age of that skill set in our re­gion and across the state.”

Bar­rett said she would also like to de­velop pro­grams that deal with men­tal health and sub­stance abuse prob­lems in the re­gion.

“We lose too many peo­ple to drug over­doses and sui­cide and I think th­ese is­sue are pro­foundly re­lated and we need to be ad­dress­ing men­tal is­sues at a much ear­lier stage in our schools so that kids growing up don’t feel like they don’t have any op­tions and no one to turn to when they’re feel­ing left out or they’re feel­ing bul­lied or they’re feel­ing de­pressed,” she said.

“We need to have more pro­grams for peo­ple in recovery,” she said. “We can’t start keep­ing (peo­ple in need) for 24 or 48 hours and then re­lease them to deal with things on their own. That’s just not re­al­is­tic. We need some se­ri­ous, mul­ti­fac­eted pro­grams to sup­port peo­ple in recovery, no mat­ter how their get­ting ad­dicted.”

Theresa Sul­li­van

Sul­li­van, 62, is a speech pathol­o­gist and au­di­ol­o­gist at Com­mu­nity Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­ter and Fairview Hospi­tal, in Great Bar­ring­ton, Mass. She has been on the Copake Town Board since 2015. She has lived in the dis­trict for 15 years and is mar­ried to Joseph Am­brose.

Sul­li­van re­ceived a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in com­mu­nica-

tions in 1976 from Queens Col­lege, in New York City, where she also earned a master’s de­gree in 1978; and re­ceived a doc­tor­ate in au­di­ol­ogy in 2000 from the Univer­sity of Florida in Gainesville. She is a mem­ber of the Agri­cul­tural Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee at Ta­conic Hills Cen­tral School Dis­trict.

Sul­li­van said she con­sid­ers pri­or­i­ties to be elim­i­nat­ing waste­ful spend­ing and

in­sti­tut­ing fis­cal re­spon­si­bil­ity. “I think we re­ally need to clean house of the elected of­fi­cials that have a long-stand­ing his­tory and com­mit­ment and owe to the New York City pop­u­la­tion,” she said. “I feel that I’m com­ing in with a health­care back­ground,” Sul­li­van said. “I re­ally don’t owe any­thing to any­body. So I can make fair de­ci­sions with re­gard to up­com­ing poli­cies, leg­is­la­tion, spend­ing.” Sul­li­van said there is “leg­is­la­tion wait­ing to be in­tro­duced on the Assem­bly floor that could be sponsored which

will sup­port fund­ing tax cred­its for var­i­ous groups for vet­er­ans, for se­niors, to sup­port fire dis­tricts, the vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers, for tax cred­its for ed­u­ca­tion.”

Sul­li­van said she is also op­posed to a pro­posal to give state leg­is­la­tors a 47 per­cent salary in­crease and would like to re­peal or amend the Safe Act, state leg­is­la­tion that im­posed some reg­u­la­tion of firearms after the mas­sacre of school chil­dren in New­town, Conn. “There are pieces of it that are just not ap­pro­pri­ate,” she said. “If you can’t com­pletely

re­peal it, you could cer­tainly in­tro­duce amend­ments to it.” Sul­li­van would like to sup­port ex­ist­ing pro­grams that help deal with the heroin epi­demic. “There are ex­ist­ing pro­grams in Dutchess County and a lit­tle bit in Columbia County for ed­u­ca­tion and youth in the schools,” she said. “That’s where you have to start, ed­u­cat­ing the kids in school with re­gards to the heroin epi­demic. There are new drugs on the mar­ket that can ac­tu­ally as­sist with the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, so fund­ing for th­ese pro­grams is key.”


Assem­bly­woman Didi Bar­rett, left, and Theresa ‘Terry’ Sul­li­van

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