Assemblyman Molinaro Opposes Reform of “Archaic” Election Laws

Votes against bill to protect voters’ personal medical information

An important voting reform bill passed in the Assembly last week. New York State’s absentee ballot application will be simplified if it passes the State Senate, too. Only 5 members took the radical position to oppose the reform. Assemblyman Molinaro was one of the 5 “NO” votes.

The simplified form would require less personal supporting information, like the name of the voter’s physician – information that some voters might prefer not to provide on a publicly available document. And by eliminating the requirement for that information, the new law would also eliminate an excuse for election lawyers to throw out votes cast when that information wasn’t provided, by oversight or out of privacy concerns.

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Red Hook Celebrates Hardscrabble Day

Dozens of Democrats March Proudly in Parade

Red Hook Democrats came together in an unprecedented show of solidarity on Hardscrabble Day 2008 with over 60 people walking and riding in the parade. Special thanks to local artist David Levine for his wonderful float and to Norman Greig for providing and driving the tractor.

Walking with us was Democratic Assembly candidate Anne Rubin who also greeted visitors near our table. Democratic State Senate candidate Ken Dow also visited us.

At our table in front of Merritt Books, we gave away free water and had a large selection of stickers featuring local and national candidates and issues. A big thank you to Lorelei Sharkey for providing the facepainting at our special edition double table in front of Merritt Books and to all the other volunteers who helped man our table and assemble and disassemble the materials.

All-in-all the day was a great success.

Dems Nominate at 2009 Caucus

Robert McKeon and Bill O’Neill get nod

Robert McKeon
Town Board
Robert McKeon
Bill O'Neill
Town Board
Bill O’Neill

At their caucus on Thursday, July 9th, Robert McKeon and Bill O’Neill were nominated to run for the Red Hook Town Board in November’s elections. The caucus was open to all registered Democrats in the Town of Red Hook, and both candidates received unanimous support.

County Legislator Tom Mansfield was also endorsed for re-election. In making the motion for his endorsement, Micki Strawinski referenced his business experience and reputation for being a hard working elected official.

Tom is a small business owner and attorney, and after being elected in 2007, has become known for offering important financial and legal insights in the County Legislature. This has been particularly valuable as the County seeks ways to cope with the economic climate and declining revenue.

Robert McKeon was first elected to the Town Board in a special election in 2008, to serve out the term of a previous member. Harry Colgan, who serves on the Town Board with McKeon, cited his “bold leadership over the years on farmland preservation, economic development, and tax reform” as reasons to support his reelection.

Bill O’Neill was previously an assistant district attorney in Dutchess County, the Deputy Supervisor of the Town of Red Hook, and has been the chairman of the Intermunicipal Task Force for approximately five years. He was born in Red Hook, and is also a registered Republican. “Bill has shown himself to be an honest, dedicated man of incredible character. His work on the Centers and Greenspaces Plan is groundbreaking, he has shown the ability to achieve results by working across party lines, and we are sure that he is the best possible person for the job,” said Pat Kelly, co-chair of the Red Hook Democrats.

“The Red Hook Democrats believe that elections should be about what is best for the community, not what is politically expedient. This is why we have previously supported Republican and independent candidates, and why we will continue to search for candidates who will best serve the town, regardless of party affiliation,” said John Schmitz, co-chair of the Red Hook Democratic Committee.


Robert McKeon wins Town Board seat 2,930-2,141

Defeats Rob Latimer in 2008 Special Election

With a strong show of support from across Red Hook, Democratic and Red Hook United candidate Robert McKeon defeated Republican Rob Latimer to earn a town board seat and, with it, delivered the first Democratic majority in the modern history of the Town of Red Hook.

Dozens of democrats and McKeon supporters from across Red Hook came together to celebrate his victory and the victory of other local and national Democrats on election night.

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 (, 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?”

Our 3rd Annual Independence Day Picnic

It seems to be our yearly tradition – rainy days for our Independence Day picnic. On the morning of Saturday, July 5th it seemed like the streak would remain alive. But by 10am the rain had stopped, the clouds parted shortly after noon, the sun came out and it was a beautiful day at Tivoli Rec Park. The third time was the charm!

The park was in great shape. Lots of good food and good company – some new friends and some old friends. Uncle Rock entertained the kids until the kids grabbed the microphone and began singing their own favorites. Thanks to everyone who could make it – we look forward to seeing all of you at our next event!

Second Annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner

Honoring Supervisor Marirose Blum Bump

On May 17th, the Red Hook Democrats held our second annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner and Dance. A packed house enjoyed good food (from Cappucino’s), great music (courtesy of the Will Smith Trio) and wonderful company as we paid tribute to our former Supervisor and her many accomplishments.

Thank you to everyone who attended and pledged their support. If you have not yet sent in your pledged contribution, please use the fund drive section on the right side to send in your donation or mail it to the address at the bottom of the page.