By Jennifer L. Warren
NEWBURGH – Genesis Ramos cannot separate where she has been from the places she is headed, nor does she ever want to.
Running for an Orange County Legislator, District 6 (representing parts of City and Town of Newburgh) position, Ramos speaks with a distinct pride as she relates pieces of that background. A first-generation Honduran-American, and a lifelong City of Newburgh residents who hails from a working class family, she witnessed first-hand her parents’ powerful, diligent work ethic.
“I would go with my parents to their cleaning jobs at night after they had already worked all day at their other jobs, and just watch them work so hard and never complain,” recalled Ramos. “Despite having language barriers and dealing with different types of discrimination, they always worked very hard and persevered, providing for my brother and I and giving us the best life possible; that has always stayed with me over the years.”
That familial fortitude resulted in Ramos becoming the first female in her family to graduate from college, receiving a BA in Sociology with a concentration in Human Resources from New Paltz, and most recently: the first in her family to earn a Master’s Degree. Last month, despite several Pandemic challenges, Ramos tallied a 4.0 GPA at Marist, graduating with a Masters in Public Administration (MPA). It’s these very types of inaugural feats that serve as shining examples of the type of individual Ramos is and continues to build upon as she picks up momentum with her campaign.
“Part of the reason I am running for this office (in addition to loving and believing in my City) is to be a trailblazer, letting other women, especially those of color, know they too can do it and take up space,” said Ramos. “My running is not about a want or desire, but about Newburgh really needing a representative who knows and understands and is truly connected to the community.”
And it’s that very “community,” along with its well-being for all people, which drives Ramos’ overriding philosophy, guiding her campaign at all times. At the heart of it all, lies equity and inclusivity. With a campaign epicenter dubbed “Very community-driven,” Ramos is laser-focused on making critical connections with her campaign team, entirely composed of, as well as supported and funded by family, friends, and local businesses. It’s a team deeply embedded in Newburgh as well as a true believer in all of its beauty and potential.
“We are very intentional about engaging different groups of voters; we really want them to feel a part of the process,” said an animated Ramos following a recent several hour door knocking venture introducing herself to residents. “We want to go into areas many candidates typically don’t go to, making those people feel more comfortable with the whole voting process as well as what we do as part of our jobs.”
There is plenty that Ramos and her team are hoping to accomplish if elected. First, there is economic development, laden with fair housing and inclusionary zoning, a revamp of public transportation, bringing good paying jobs here, support for small businesses and improvements with IDA (Industrial Development Agency.) Then there is a health care focus, including more mobile unit access and equipping health departments with diverse needs.
Finally, the environment tops Ramos’ priorities, with a focal point on sewage and revamping – installing new pipes as well as improving air quality and moving toward renewable energy.
“Environmental justice is racial justice,” Ramos affirmed, whose combined passion and plan have her super excited for all the possibilities that lie ahead for the City she adores.
“I’m a behind-the-scenes kind of person who is not looking to be in the limelight, but really understands the critical need of representation that is connected to our community; therefore I decided to put myself out there,” Ramos explained. “If not now, when?” Reflecting further about the whole political candidacy ride she has been on, Ramos smiles, adding, “We are the ones we have been waiting for.”