Interview: REID McGRATH – TOWN COUNCIL
As Election Day approaches, The Pawling Record would like to extend this opportunity to allow our readers to get to know the candidates for several positions within the Town and the Village. On Tuesday, November 6, Pawling residents can cast their votes at the Lathrop Building in Lakeside Park, 2 Lakeside Drive, the Holmes Whaley Lake Civic Association Building at 239 Route 292 in Holmes, or Town Hall, 160 Charles Colman Boulevard. Voters can find their designated polling place by visiting www.dutchesselections.com.
REID McGRATH – TOWN COUNCIL
1. Why are you running for this office?
I’m asked this question a lot. I say: “Because I want to make a difference.” And there have been people who’ve replied: “One man make a difference?” If you don’t believe in the power or good of the individual versus the power and good of the “State,” then you might as well give up on what makes America, America. In the United States of America we believe that one man or woman can make an extraordinary difference, and this starts at the local level. Good individuals create good societies.
My family’s been in Pawling for a very long time, and they’ve always been very involved. From my grandmother being the captain of the volunteer Rescue Squad to my father coaching youth hockey for twenty-five years. I also want to be more involved, and I want to ensure that Pawling is a place my son can grow up in and love.
2. What are your qualifications for the position?
I have common sense, I’m creative, and I’m cordial. Board members are looking out for the common good of the community, and they need common sense in order to do that. Our parks need a serious overhaul, and it’s going to take some creativity as well as money. I believe I have the cordiality required to converse with any number of people and understand two sides to any argument. At times, I can play the “Devil’s Advocate” very well. As a Councilman, you need to understand where all of your fellow citizens are coming from. You’re a public servant first and foremost, and you have to put egos aside.
3. What do you hope to accomplish, if elected?
I can identify five key issues that would be my top priority should I be given the privilege to serve on the Board. They are: Healthcare Reform, Development, Parks, the Transfer Station, and the Library.
I want to reform the salary package for Town Board members. I’d like to get rid of the health insurance benefit and lifetime health insurance benefits and create a lump-sum salary (which you could also use toward healthcare if you wanted, at 100% cost to you). The Transfer Station, an extremely important resource to many individuals in our community, is currently operating at a deficit. I want to do all that I can to ensure that it continues to serve us efficiently and economically. Tough decisions will have to be made, and I am prepared to be an active participant in the process. Our parks and Recreation Department are resources that need our attention. Lakeside and Murrow Park are critical resources that are each in need of significant help so that we can capitalize on what each has to offer. As one who loves the outdoors, I look forward to the opportunity to work with the Town’s new Recreation Director on the development of new programs and activities.
Many in our community are well aware of the discussion surrounding the re-zoning of Route 22. I strongly believe that it is important that any changes that are made are done in the best interests of our town as a whole, as well as those affected in the immediate vicinity. An increased tax base is important to ensuring that property taxes can be maintained at a reasonable level. Many in our community today struggle to pay their annual tax bills. With that being said, when we develop, we must develop wisely.
The Pawling Library is eventually going to need to expand or rebuild. I understand the importance of this great asset, and I would very much like to work with the Library to meet their required space needs. The Library provides critical programs to all age groups, but especially to our local children, my son Caelem being one of them.
4. What is your educational background?
I went to Elementary, Middle, and High School in Pawling. I graduated cum laude from SUNY New Paltz with a degree in English Literature.
5. What else would you like voters to know about you – your family, pastimes, special interests or activities?
I’m married and with a son, and another child on the way. I enjoy writing, reading, running, my dog, the Appalachian Trail, hockey, farming, traveling when I can, holistic health, folk music, sitting by fires, gardening, local food, coffee, wine and beer. I like working hard and want to work hard for Pawling. I hope you will give me that privilege!