By Journalist Ms. Jones
ORANGE COUNTY – On Tuesday, November 7, Orange County residents will vote for who they want to be the Orange County Executive.
Two candidates are running, Democrat Pat Davis and incumbent Republican Steven M. Neuhaus who has been the Orange County Executive since 2014.
The Orange County Executive is in charge of a number of departments, including Employment and Training, Budget, Transit, Health, Social Services, Early Intervention Services, the District Attorney, the Sheriff’s Office, Public Works, Parks and Recreation, and the Airport.
“We also have Emergency Management. So, for big storms… if there was anything catastrophic like a fire or natural disaster, me being the County Executive, I am the Incident Commander. I’ve been in the military for over ten years. I’m a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy Reserves right now which has helped me prepare for emergency management,” said Neuhaus. He has led the county to perfect scores in emergency preparedness from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the State Emergency Management Agency.
Economic development is also important to Neuhaus. He works to bring new businesses to Orange County.
“Having a job is critical to feeding a family… A job is one of the most important things you can have,” said Neuhaus who was instrumental in bringing Norwegian Airlines to Stewart Airport.
Neuhaus is also in charge of submitting a budget to the legislature.
“Since I took office, we’ve cut millions of dollars in spending. We did an early retirement incentive… which avoided layoffs. That resulted in a tax rate decrease,” said Neuhaus.
His goal is to grow the public parks. The Heritage Trail is expanding and currently under construction.
His other accomplishments as Orange County Executive include decreasing the homeless count, bringing back the annual fireworks and the airshow, and opening a 9,000 square-foot Orange-Ulster BOCES Adult Education Center on Broadway in Newburgh that offers English as a Second Language (ESL) and Medical Assistant classes.
“My wife and I have four children at home. A lot of decisions that I make are based on what I think those decisions are going to impact on the future of not only me, but future generations, including my own children. Are they going to have jobs available? Are they going to have open space and beautiful farms? Are they going to have playgrounds that are safe to go to? Are they going to have schools that are being properly funded by the local economy?” said Neuhaus.
Newcomer Pat Davis is no stranger to service. He served in the military for five years after graduating from West Point and completed two tours in Iraq.
Davis holds an MBA from the Wharton School and has worked for Ernest and Young and Price Waterhouse Cooper. He hopes to be a proponent of getting people jobs in Orange County.
“It’s a combination of working with businesses and doing what we can to attract business to the area. There’s also an infrastructure component to that. Making sure that transportation, whether it’s the roads and highways, or the public transportation, how people get to where they live and work and school is very important. If people can’t get to where they want to go, that’s a huge issue,” said Davis.
Davis also desires to fight the opioid epidemic.
“We need to provide alternative opportunities for people and show that they have a future living and working in Orange County,” said Davis. He plans to work with mental health services and support law enforcement officers in providing necessary resources.
To find out about registering to vote, call your local village, town, or city clerk or contact the Orange County Board of Elections at www.orangecountygov.com.