As we near Election Day, I would like to take a moment to share some of my thoughts with you to help in making your election decision. You have probably already learned that I have lived in Katonah for over 17 years with my husband, Constantin, and our sons Alex and Nick, that I am an attorney and fundraiser with 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector and that I grew up nearby and went through Bedford Central Schools. You may also know that I am interested in promoting programs in emergency preparedness, safety, security, health and wellness.
You may wish to know more about what I think and where I stand on issues you care about. While I agree that most of the issues which are likely to come before the Town Board are of a nonpartisan nature, I do believe that party affiliation is helpful in understanding a candidate’s world view and guiding values. I am a lifelong Democrat. I support the Democratic values of inclusiveness, diversity and equity – including religious, racial, gender, LGBTQ and socioeconomic. I support New York’s strong gun control laws. I believe in the social safety net. I support workers’ right to organize. Still, as a fiscal conservative, compensation and benefits need to be sustainable – and crippling the system is not a viable option.
I understand what it means to work in service to the public. When you agree to enter public office you must leave your ego and your prejudices at the door. During a public comment period at a recent town board meeting a somewhat lengthy speaker prompted the board at the next meeting to adopt a rule limiting comments to 5 minutes. I don’t question the board’s authority to institute the rule – but I found it troubling to be apparently directed toward an individual. Reasonable means for redress of grievances is one of the most fundamental responsibilities of democratic governance and should be clearly communicated and readily available.
Our opponents have chosen to distance themselves from their party. They have relied on the position that party doesn’t matter in local politics. Traditional Republicans in Bedford are often fiscally conservative, but more socially liberal than the party in general, similar to local Democrats, myself included, who are socially liberal, but more fiscally conservative than the party in general. But extreme Tea Party influences are at work in our region. Shielding or obfuscating those connections doesn’t help voters to make the most informed decision.
And finally, character matters. Our slate understood that we were taking a calculated risk in announcing that we would not be littering the roadsides with lawn signs. We chose integrity over political expediency. I strongly encourage everyone to vote – a precious right of free, self-governing people. You will find my name on the Democratic, Independence and Working Families party lines to cast your vote for integrity and transparency in service to you.
Very truly yours, Julie Hallowell Vulpescu
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