Caucus selects Robert McKeon

Leader in Tax Reform and Farmland Preservation
will seek Town Board Seat

By unanimous vote at Thursday night’s Red Hook Democratic Caucus, Robert McKeon was nominated to run for an open Town Board seat on the Democratic line in the November 4th general election. An estimated 75 Red Hook voters attended and also endorsed Anne Rubin for New York’s 103rd State Assembly District.

McKeon spoke of his joy of raising a family in Red Hook and his wish to help others share the same opportunity before a rising cost of living pushes them out. “I grew up in the projects in the Bronx and I know what its like to struggle. I feel lucky that here in Red Hook my family and I have found a better life. What I work for is to give every family in Red Hook that same opportunity.”

McKeon, who last year came within 17 votes of winning the race for Red Hook Town Supervisor, has over the last year become an acknowledged leader of New York’s growing tax reform movement. Earlier this year, members of the Governor’s tax team asked McKeon to make a presentation on tax caps to the NYS Property Tax Relief Commission.

As director of the Tax Reform Effort of Northern Dutchess (www.trendny.org), McKeon is organizing voters throughout New York to advance the so-called circuit breaker, a tax cap based on income. McKeon believes tax fairness is the real issue. “Working families continue to pay an increasing share of the overall tax burden, while the very wealthy have seen their income tax rates cut in half over the last 30 years. This is not fair and we need to change that.”

Republican Red Hook business leader Susan Simon spoke in support of McKeon saying, “Robert has an uncanny knack for identifying what is and isn’t working. He is not the kind of person who complains about problems —
instead he does his homework, solicits opinions from the public and then works to put real solutions in place. He understands that our current sprawl zoning is hurting our local businesses and that a new approach is crucial.”

Named a Hudson Valley Hero in 2007 by Scenic Hudson, McKeon has helped introduce new tax-saving land preservation efforts in Red Hook and throughout the state. As the chairman of Red Hook’s Agriculture and Open Space Committee, McKeon works to promote the local agricultural industry. “Farmers are doing more of what they used to do, selling their locally grown produce elsewhere and bringing those dollars back into the community to circulate,” McKeon told the audience “Here in Red Hook, we need to become more self-sustaining and leave no one behind.”

Robert McKeon
Robert McKeon

McKeon is well- known and well respected by officials on the state and county level, according to Dutchess County Legislator Tom Mansfield. “Here’s a man, who as a private citizen has spearheaded a series of groundbreaking programs, while becoming the go-to guy for officials who need advice on issues from tax reform to land use and environmental bills. His work has become the role model for other communities throughout the county and we’d be lucky to have him in office.”

Town Board member Micki Strawinski sees McKeon as a necessary catalyst to getting Red Hook working again. “I continue to be awestruck by Robert’s commitment, passion, and familiarity with Red Hook’s critical issues. Who else has done what Robert has to bring these issues before the public eye and into the voting booth?”