Thursday, August 7, 2014

Get On The Boat - Cruise With The Columbia County Democrats


Boarding begins at 2:30 PM
Water Street, Hudson
Departs at 3:00 PM sharp!
Returns to the dock at 5 PM

Join us on board this year’s Hudson River cruise.
We promise it will be better than ever.
We sail on the “The Marika”, a 100 ft. two deck luxury cruise yacht.
Same warm atmosphere and plenty of finger foods.
Cash bar - beer, wine, soda, and mixed drinks.

All our 2014 candidates have been invited.

Tickets $40 per person…$25 for students
or call Judy Rusk at 392-1611 or 821-7544 to get on board.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sean Eldridge - Democrat for Congress

Sean Eldridge for Congress
19th Congressional District Map

Sean Eldridge grew up in a small town in Ohio and attended public schools. His father was the first person in his family to graduate from high school, and his mother grew up in a working class family of immigrants. From a young age, Sean’s family instilled in him the value of public service and the importance of fighting for those who don’t have a voice.

Sean has built his home, his family, and his business in the Hudson Valley. He serves as the president of Kingston-based Hudson River Ventures, an investment company that has created local jobs and grown small businesses throughout our region, including family- and veteran-owned companies. Hudson River Ventures has helped grow more than a dozen local businesses, including Bread Alone, Prohibition Distillery, Gigi Hudson Valley, and many others.

Sean knows that just as we must expand economic opportunity today, we need to invest in the next generation, which is why he founded the Hudson Valley Advanced Manufacturing Center at SUNY New Paltz. The Center is preparing students and workers for the new economy by bringing cutting-edge manufacturing technology – including 3D printing – to the region.

Sean has a deep commitment to public service. He’s worked with Planned Parenthood to protect women’s access to health care in the Hudson Valley. As an advocate for civil rights, he helped lead the successful campaign for marriage equality in New York State in 2011. Sean has been a leader in the fight to reform our broken campaign finance system and reduce the power of money and special interests in politics. He’s also worked to protect the environment and the incredible natural resources in our region.

Sean is running for Congress to help break the gridlock in Washington. He will fight to grow our local economy, reduce unemployment and strengthen the middle class. Sean will take on the big corporations and entrenched interests that are drowning out the voices of New Yorkers. He will be an independent voice for us.

Didi Barrett for Assembly

Didi Barrett for NYS Assembly

106th Assembly District Map

Didi Barrett was elected to the New York State Assembly in a special election in March 2012 and re-elected to a full term in November 2012. A resident of the Hudson Valley for more than 25 years, she came to elected office after a career as a community activist, writer and longtime leader of not-for-profit organizations. As a member of the Assembly she serves on the Committees on Mental Health, Economic Development, Aging, Veterans Affairs and Agriculture.

Didi is passionate about the agricultural, natural, and cultural resources of the Hudson Valley and their critical importance as economic engines and job generators. She is a member of the board of Sprout Creek Farm, an educational farm in Poughkeepsie and an advisor to the National Young Farmers Coalition. Didi spearheaded the creation of the Dutchess Girls Collaborative to support local girls and young women. She helped launch and is a board member of the North East Dutchess Fund (NED) of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, which focuses on improving life in the six towns of northeastern Dutchess County. She helped create the pioneering NED Corps program, with Dutchess Community Action Partnership, to deliver social services to this rural region and serves on its affiliated Latino Roundtable. She is formerly a trustee of the Anderson Foundation for Autism, board member of the Millbrook Education Foundation and consultant to the Hudson Valley resident professional theater company Half Moon Theatre. She writes a blog, Diner Dialogues: Talk of the Hudson Valley, that explores many of these issues.

Didi’s family has deep roots in the Hudson Valley, and a long involvement with Dutchess and Columbia counties. In 1938, her grandfather and great-uncle bought a farm in Ancramdale which still remains in the family. Didi’s husband, David, grew up in the Hudson Valley town of Middletown. The couple has two children, Alec and Annabel.

View Didi's 2014 Campaign Announcement

Brian Howard for State Senate

Brian Howard
for NY State Senate
43rd Senate District Map

Brian Howard is a husband, father, and veteran educator. He spent 42 years as a classroom teacher, union leader, principal, and school superintendent. His career as a leader in education means he's skilled at problem solving, collaborating, and getting things done.

Brian is happily married to his wife Janet and proud father to his three children: Kate, an attorney in Albany; Eamon, an Iraq War veteran; and Annie, who recently graduated college in New York City.


  • The Economy: Bring real economic development to Upstate that focuses on infrastructure, Main Street revitalization, and small business development. Provide a fair living minimum wage. 
  • Campaign Finance Reform: Limit campaign contributions, publicly fund elections, and bring one-person-one-vote democracy back to New York. 
  • Education: Restore state funding to pre-recession levels and pause Common Core implementation so teachers and students can catch their breath.

View Brian's Campaign Announcement
Visit Brian's Website
Read more at Register-Star

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Sean Eldridge in Kinderhook on March 8

Sean Eldridge stopped in Kinderhook, Claverack and Hudson Saturday, March 8th to kick off his campaign for Congress. He is looking forward to having his name placed on the November ballot through the collection of Democratic signatures on his petitions. 

He has been endorsed by the Columbia County Democratic Committee plus Rensselaer, Dutchess and Ulster Democratic Committees along with Kirsten Gillibrand. 

The photographs were taken at Bagel Tyme in Kinderhook where he was warmly greeted by an enthusiastic group.

Sean Eldridge in Kinderhook, March 8, 2014
Sean's husband, Chris Hughes
Sean Eldridge and Peter Bujanow (1st Vice Chair of the Columbia County Democratic Committee and Town Chair for Kinderhook) on March 8

Monday, October 14, 2013

County Ethics Board Behaving Unethically

Report by Ken Dow

Taghkanic Town Board Member Debora Gilbert was recently the target of a politically-driven ethics complaint filed with the Columbia County Board of Ethics by two political adversaries—Taghkanic Supervisor Betty Young and Town Board Member Richard Skoda. I was her attorney.

The County Board of Ethics ultimately issued an Opinion that cleared Ms. Gilbert, finding no basis for most of the complaint. Nevertheless, the inquisition Ms. Gilbert had to endure, and the inappropriate insinuation, suggestion, and invasion of privacy that characterized the written Opinion of the County Board of Ethics, inflicted upon Ms. Gilbert undue stress, humiliation, and financial burden. She believes that if something good can come out of the fiasco, it will be to bring to light the way in which the County Board of Ethics can be an instrument for pernicious ends.

We discovered, first, that basic procedures of the Board of Ethics are done improperly. The Board ignored quorum requirements, claimed a scope of jurisdiction that it does not have, and acts in complete secrecy, in violation of the Public Officers Law.

More troubling was the Board’s hypocrisy. The Board chairman continually harped on “appearances” of conflict or bias, yet the Board relied, despite our strong objections, on counsel who is employed in both a county position and in private practice by a boss whom Ms. Gilbert was instrumental in replacing as attorney for Taghkanic.

More troubling, still, however, is how the Board’s written opinion—presumably drafted by the counsel we objected to—misconstrued and distorted the law to insinuate and suggest improper conduct where there was none.

At one point the Opinion asserted that a crucial state statute “specifically prohibits” an official’s participation where there is “the appearance” of a conflict of interest. This is false. The statute does not “specifically prohibit” actions where there is “the appearance” of a conflict;; in fact, the statute makes no mention of “appearances” at all.

The Opinion also claimed that a key provision in the Taghkanic Code says that a person must recuse herself when she “is reasonably believed” to have an interest in the outcome of a matter.

Again, this is completely untrue. The Code actually says, perfectly clearly, that recusal is required when acting may financially benefit the officer’s “spouse, minor children and dependents, and members of his or her household,” none of which applied.

There is more, and worse, but not enough room here to address it.

There is obviously a huge difference between being held responsible for what you do and for what someone thinks you have done. While appearances can be relevant at times, the Board of Ethics cited specific provisions of law, and then distorted language to claim that those laws say things that they do not. What is especially disturbing is that these misrepresentations in the Board’s Opinion aren’t omissions that might be attributed to oversight. They are statements that fabricate language that simply doesn’t exist. By distorting the law, the Opinion inappropriately cast Ms. Gilbert in a negative light even as the ultimate determination was one of exoneration.

We know that politics can be ugly. What Ms. Gilbert endured however, was the use of the County Ethics process as a device to cloak a political hit job under a veil of impartiality, a deceit which is uglier still.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Columbia County Democratic chairwoman, Cyndy Hall had this to say about the matter:

"The outright partisan behavior of Supervisor Betty Young and Town Board member Richard Skoda has been outrageous," said Ms. Hall. "To be still raking Ms. Gilbert over the coals after being exonerated is nothing short of cruel. They should be ashamed. After hearing chair of the County Board of Ethics chairman Richard Washburn speak at the last Taghkanic Town Board meeting, I am calling for a complete investigation of the Board of Ethics, their rules of operating and criteria for membership.This is not the way elected officials or any citizen should be treated by town or county government." 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sean Eldridge | Why I'm running

Sean Eldridge Announces Candidacy for Congress

Sean Eldridge
Sean Eldridge, the founder and president of business investment company Hudson River Ventures, has formally launched his bid for the Democratic nomination in New York’s 19th Congressional District.

Eldridge, 27, a Shokan resident and the husband of Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, launched his long-rumored campaign with a video on his website Sunday night September 22nd and issued a press release about his run on Monday. In the video, Eldridge talks about building his family, home and business in the Hudson Valley and how the area needs “an independent voice who will fight for us.”

Eldridge will will face Republican incumbent Chris Gibson in Congressional District NY-19 in the 2014 election.

See Sean's Website
Like Sean's Facebook Page
Read more: Daily Freeman and Register-Star

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Labor Endorses Columbia County Democratic Candidates

The Upper Hudson Central Labor Council has endorsed Mike Winnie for Columbia County Sheriff, Lee Jamison for Stuyvesant Supervisor and Taghkanic Town Councilman Lawrence Kadish for Taghkanic Town Supervisor.

In the City of Hudson, the Labor Council endorsed Victor Mendolia's campaign for Mayor along with eight other Hudson candidates. The chapter endorsed Don Moore in his bid to return as Common Council president, Supervisor William Hughes Jr in his reelection and six candidates for Alderman, incumbent David Marston in the 1st Ward, incumbent Abdus Miah and newcomers Tiffany Garriga in the 2nd Ward, Henry Haddad in the 3rd Ward, Alexis Keith in the 4th Ward, and Megan Carr in the 5th Ward.

 In other races, Landra Haber and Kandace Eaton were endorsed for Chatham Town Board.

The Labor Council announced the full slate of their endorsements at Harvest Spirits in Valatie on Wednesday September 18th The Council, which is part of the Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation represents thousands of Columbia County union members.

Read more in the Register-Star

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Martin Van Buren Awards Honors Columbia County Community Leaders.

Awardees and Presenters 
(l-r)  Victor Mendolia, Chief Jim Cesternino, Brenda Adams, Judy Rusk, Judy Grunberg,  Aaron Enfield,  Cyndy Hall
 and Peter Bujanow
Hudson, New York - A sold out crowd of Columbia County Democrats gathered at Club Helsinki to celebrate the 6th annual Martin Van Buren Awards Dinner. Each year the County Democratic Committee honors members of the committee and community for outstanding work which upholds the principles of the Democratic Party. 

The honorees this year are Brenda Adams, Democratic Chair for the Town of Canaan and Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity; Aaron Enfield was honored for his work on the Marriage Equality Act; Chief, Jim Cesternino accepted an award to the West Ghent Fire Company for service to the community and Judy Grunberg was honored for her many acts of community service and her generosity to Democrats.

All photos © Beth Schneck
Beth Schneck Photography

View the full photo album here