Strong en­ters exc­u­tive race

Kingston res­i­dent be­comes second Demo­crat to de­clare can­di­dacy

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Pa­tri­cia R. Doxsey [email protected]­manon­line.com

City res­i­dent Pa­trice Court­ney Strong is run­ning for Ul­ster County ex­ec­u­tive, be­com­ing the lat­est Demo­crat and first woman to eye the post be­ing va­cated by Demo­crat Michael Hein.

Strong of­fi­cially an­nounced her can­di­dacy Satur­day dur­ing an event at Art­bar Gallery on Broad­way in Mid­town Kingston. She said she in­tends to seek both the Demo­cratic and Work­ing Fam­i­lies lines on the bal­lot in the up­com­ing spe­cial elec­tion for the job.

Strong, who lost a bid for a state Sen­ate this past fall, and fel­low Demo­crat Pat Ryan, a Gar­diner res­i­dent who sought the area’s Demo­cratic con­gres­sional nom­i­na­tion last year, are the only declared can­di­dates for county ex­ec­u­tive. Ul­ster County Comptroller El­liott Auer­bach, also a Demo­crat, and for­mer county Leg­is­la­ture Chair­man Ken Ronk, a Repub­li­can, have said they are con­sid­er­ing run­ning. Among other Democrats, Kingston Mayor Steve No­ble said Fri­day that he won’t run; and Ker­honk­son res­i­dent Gareth Rhodes, an­other un­suc­cess­ful con­gres­sional can­di­date, con­sid­ered get­ting into the race but said Fri­day that he will not. Hein has been nom­i­nated by New York Gov. An­drew Cuomo to be the next com­mis­sioner of the state Of­fice of Tem­po­rary and Dis­abil­ity Ser­vices, and the state Sen­ate could con­firm the ap­point­ment as early as this com­ing week.

Hein has said he will stay on as county ex­ec­u­tive, a job he’s held for 10 years, un­til his state ap­point­ment takes ef­fect. Once he leaves, a spe­cial elec­tion for county ex­ec­u­tive must be held within 90 days. The job then will be on the bal­lot again in Novem­ber, be­cause 2019 is a county ex­ec­u­tive elec­tion year.

Strong is an en­vi­ron­men­tal con­sul­tant and owner of Court­ney Strong Inc. In the early 1990s, she worked as a dis­trict co­or­di­na­tor for state As­sem­bly­man Kevin Cahill, D-Kingston.

“For the past 15 years, I’ve had a small busi­ness based in Kingston that works re­gion­ally to help busi­ness in­sti­tu­tions [and] home­own­ers save en­ergy and save money,” she said.

She ran last year for the state Sen­ate seat in New York’s 46h Dis­trict but lost to in­cum­bent Repub­li­can Ge­orge Ame­dore by a mar­gin of about 57-43 per­cent.

Strong lauded Hein’s ten­ure as county ex­ec­u­tive and in par­tic­u­lar his ef­forts re­gard­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal and so­cial jus­tice is­sues, and she said she would “con­tinue and ex­pand what his team has been do­ing to move our county for­ward.”

Strong said she’s “re­ceived a tremen­dous amount of pos­i­tive feed­back from women and men who have noted it would be very pos­i­tive to have a woman in the county ex­ec­u­tive seat.”

Hein was elected Ul­ster County’s first ex­ec­u­tive in 2008, after the new county char­ter took ef­fect. He was re-elected in 2011, after an ini­tial three-year term, and again in 2015.

The county char­ter puts the ex­ec­u­tive in charge of the day-to-day op­er­a­tions of the county and gives him broad au­thor­ity to act. Be­cause of how soon the spe­cial elec­tion to fill Hein’s seat must be held, there will be no party pri­maries. Rather, the can­di­dates will be cho­sen by the county’s po­lit­i­cal party com­mit­tees.

Hein is to be suc­ceeded on an in­terim ba­sis by Deputy County Ex­ec­u­tive Adele Reiter. She will serve un­til the win­ner of the spe­cial elec­tion takes over.

Pa­trice Court­ney Strong

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