Updated 04/21/2011 11:03 AM
Race for county executives begin
It's the battle of Generation X in the race for Dutchess County Executive. As our Curtis Schick shows us, the two candidates may be young, but both are not political newcomers.
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DUTCHESS COUNTY, N.Y. -- Assemblyman Marc Molinaro, 35, kicked off his campaign for County Executive in Poughkeepsie.
"I want to be County Executive because I know the challenges we face, the character of our people and the unyielding potential of our future," Molinaro said.
The Red Hook Republican is facing 29-year-old Democrat Dan French. The Beekman Town Supervisor and Deputy Elections Commissioner officially threw his hat in the ring last week.
"I believe it is time for a new day in our County. And I believe I have education and the experience to bring the necessary change to our government," French said.
The two Gen-Xers are vying for retiring five term Executive William Steinhaus' job. Molinaro is not running away from Steinhaus' record, while French says Molinaro is more of the same.
"We are prepared to lead, we are prepared to use the foundation we have been granted and make this county a great place for future generations," Molinaro said.
"We have had 20 years of the same tired tactics, now it is time to turn the page and bring a new approach," French said.
One big issue in the county either faces is what to do about the crowded Dutchess County jail. Many Republicans in the County legislature support an expansion, but Molinaro is examining the options.
"We are going to be talking over the course of the next few months about specific proposals," Molinaro said. "The bottom line is we need to protect the citizens of Dutchess County."
As for French, it is an idea he is at best luke warm to.
"We have to explore every opportunity for alternatives to incarceration before we go to a brick and mortar approach. Our property tax payers are struggling," French said.
Both are relatively young, but both have plenty of political experience. French was first elected at 23 to the Beekman Town Board, while Molinaro was the youngest person elected to anything in New York when he joins the Tivoli board at age 18 before stints as that Village's Mayor and a County Legislator.