New Paltz Democrats Deliberate With Candidates

Candidates seeking support in their upcoming elections recently met with the New Paltz Democratic Committee (NPDC) to seek their endorsement in the upcoming election. 

On Feb. 21, members of the committee, and roughly a dozen local attendees, listened to the policies and goals presented by the candidates. Current New Paltz Village Mayor Tim Rogers expressed his intent for re-election, as did New Paltz Judge Jim Bacon. Private and public attorney Bryan Rounds also stated his case to be the next Ulster County Judge. 

The NPDC is a group of village and town leaders as well as local residents. Their stated goals included encouraging involvement in the community on local political affairs and to support those candidates they feel can best represent New Paltz residents. 

After four years of service to the village, this will be Rogers’ first campaign for re-election since unseating the former Mayor Jason West back in 2015. Many of Rogers’ constituents applaud him for the massive amount of work he has done for the community in such a short time. Some of Rogers’ proudest achievements include guiding an 24 percent decrease in water usage and organizing the construction of a new station for the New Paltz Fire Department, which is set to break ground in July. 

“When I ran for office I promised that every day I would do a little bit of work to better the people in our community and keep them safe,” Rogers said. “By electing me you get someone with a track record with all the projects we have been working on for the past four years.  

He intends on building upon the work he has already conducted in the community, as well as exploring new opportunities. Some of those plans include multi-million dollar investments into increasing local water sourcing and imposing a law that would require the town and SUNY New Paltz to proactively monitor their sewage systems to decrease pressure on sewage plants.

To preface statements made by Bacon and Rounds, judicial candidates are barred from discussing how they would rule on certain types of cases by ethical candidacy laws.

Bacon was the only other incumbent candidate present at the event, serving the New Paltz courts for the past four years. Before his current position Bacon served on the New Paltz Town Board for five years, the Planning Board for five years and the Conservation Commission for a little over two years. He additionally engages in private law practice as a full practitioner in environmental law. 

According to Bacon, the court deals with anywhere from 10,000 to 12,000 cases of year, leaving Bacon on-call all day and night if the police need a suspect arraigned. He discussed his previous judicial decisions and the types of cases that landed under his gavel. 

“I’ve always tried to be as fair as possible [with my decisions] and applied the law as it stands,” Bacon said. 

Additionally, Bacon discussed implementing alternative sentencing for people convicted of nonviolent drug crimes in light of the opioid epidemic plaguing Ulster County. He also expressed his wishes to keep improving the safety and efficiency of the local court.   

New Paltz was his last stop on a tour to numerous Ulster municipalities. According to Rounds, he recently received an endorsement from the Ulster County Democratic community. Rounds received a wide breadth of experience in criminal law as a prosecutor, defense attorney and an assistant public defense attorney for Ulster County.  

“I have prosecuted and defended every kind of case that can come across the desk of the county court judge,” Rounds said. “I will be open mind edand not prejudge any situation.”

If you wish to vote in this upcoming election you must be registered to vote in Ulster County. The election date is May 7: voting polls will be open from noon to 9 p.m. at the New Paltz firehouse. The Ulster and New Paltz court judge positions will be on the ballot during the general election on Nov. 5.

Max Freebern
About Max Freebern 91 Articles
Max Freebern is a fourth-year journalism major who’s going into his fifth semester working for Oracle. He worked his way from a contributor, to copy editor and has served as the News editor for the past few semester. While he normally focuses on local government his true passion is writing immersive work and human profiles.