HYDE PARK – Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro took his ceremonial oath of office Friday at the Henry A. Wallace Visitor Center at the FDR Library and Museum. Molinaro’s third term as the leader of Dutchess County was administered by Dutchess County Family Court Judge Tracy MacKenzie.
In front of an audience of more than 200 elected officials and members of the community, Paul Sparrow, the executive director of the FDR Presidential Library and Museum pointed out the similarity between President Roosevelt and Molinaro. “FDR was a true son of the Hudson Valley and so is Molinaro,” said Sparrow.
The Master of Ceremonies, Dutchess County’s Director of Veterans Services Marc Coviello, touted his boss as “A man of his word,” while Hyde Park Town Supervisor Aileen Rohr proclaimed that “Dutchess County is stronger and more resilient because of Marc.” Rohr also serves as the president of the Dutchess County Supervisors and Mayors Association.
The county’s former Poet Laureate Bettina “Poet Gold” Wilkerson delivered the powerful poem “Common Ground” that captivated the audience. The poem included the verse “Do not abandon the idea of Common Ground and build barb-wired fences to protect our fears.” The verse brought nods of approval from many in the room.
Molinaro’s address tied in the comments by both Sparrow and Poet Gold, noting the division witnessed in both Washington and Albany that has created anxiety, anger, and fear locally. He also called the opioid epidemic the “public health crisis of our lifetime,” while also recognizing mental health services and homelessness. “Too many suffer in silence with mental health issues; too many sleep in shelters or on the streets, and too few have access to the opportunities needed to prosper and grow.”
“Just as President Franklin Roosevelt affirmed over 80 years ago, the challenges we face today demand bold, persistent experimentation,” said Molinaro in a nod to Hyde Park’s resident and only four-term US President. With regard to Poet Gold, Molinaro called for the need to “Hold firm on our common ground, think big, to build together.”
While the speech did not list specifics, he called it “the setting of big goals that will enhance the quality of life for all residents,” while noting that specific initiatives will be presented at the upcoming State of the County address.