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Ulster County Executive Candidate Pat Ryan Talks About His Vision

Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan
Courtesy of Pat Ryan

There is a special election April 30 in New York for Ulster County executive. The post is open for the first time since it was created 10 years ago. Pat Ryan, runner-up in the 19th Congressional District 2018 Democratic primary, was the first to announce. WAMC’s Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Allison Dunne spoke with Ryan about what he has in mind if elected.

The Ulster County executive seat opened after Democrat Mike Hein joined the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance in February.

Adele Reiter, who served as Hein’s chief of staff, is serving as acting county executive. Ryan consistently details his enthusiasm and excitement for the top office in the county, saying he has a vision to lead Ulster forward.

Ryan, who grew up in Kingston and now lives in Gardiner, has never held political office.

Ryan says he intends to pay attention to the struggling areas of the county, like Ellenville and Wawarsing. Part of this, as he says, means showing up. So Ryan is taking a page out of 19th District Congressman Antonio Delgado’s playbook. The Democrat held 11 town halls in the 11 weeks since taking office in January.

Environmentally, Ryan is calling for a Green New Deal in Ulster County. He says the county cannot wait for Congress to act and can be a leader in the state on this issue. His plan calls for immediately transitioning all of Ulster County government’s energy production to renewable sources; creating a Green Jobs Program in partnership with organizations like SUNY Ulster, Ulster BOCES, and local businesses; achieving 100 percent clean power across the county by 2030; and creating an Ulster County Climate Action Council.

Ryan says the winner of the special election would take office 30 days after results are certified. Ryan faces Republican Jack Hayes, also of Gardiner, who chairs the county’s Conservative Party and is a former county legislator and town supervisor. No matter the winner on April 30, the two are set to face off again in November’s general election.

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