Getting to know Michael
Safer Streets, Better Kingston
I decided to get involved in politics knowing I can be “the choice of the people”. I am a registered Democrat and have endorsements from the Republican and Conservative parties. I will represent the people of Ward-7 and the city of Kingston, not a party.
A little more about me…
• Ulster County resident over 25 years
• High School: Onteora
• College: Marist College: B.S. Org. Leadership & Communications (Magna Cum Laude)
• I have spent the better part of my career working in public service at the county level. I have been employed at Ulster County Area Transit for almost 13 years and currently serve as the Operations Coordinator.
Fun Fact: One of my goals is to visit every stadium in Major League Baseball (30 teams), I currently have visited 20.
Michaels positions on:
Affordable Housing and Rent Control
The focus of politicians in Kingston is low-income housing and nothing else. While low-income housing is extremely important, what about workforce housing? What about those who cannot live in the city they work 40+ hours a week in?
I have several co-workers who make a decent salary but cannot afford to live in the area due to astronomical rental rates. One of my coworkers is moving to Connecticut. The daily commute is less expensive than a two-bedroom apartment in Kingston.
Owning a home is a goal for so many living in our city. How can they attempt to save when rent rates are more than current mortgages? Moving out of our city should not be the solution.
I will work with developers to offer incentives and create more workforce housing, giving the people who work in Kingston an opportunity to live and thrive in it as well.
Kingston and Ulster County have taken tremendous strides to go green.
As an employee of the county’s public transit company, I know firsthand the strides we have already made and will continue to make.
I will continue to work with the public to increase bus services throughout Kingston, making it more affordable, easier to navigate and a more enjoyable experience for the riders, while reducing our carbon footprint at the same time.
Increased crime and gun violence
It seems daily there is another shooting or violent crime happening in our community. Throughout the city, residents are growing increasingly afraid and frustrated. Local police are frustrated with the lack of support they are receiving from the common council. Criminals are aware of our current bail reform laws and the lack of consequences of their actions. I will work to give the police the assistance they need and deserve while keeping an open mind to changes the community is asking for. Police officers will be held accountable to their professional standards, serving, and protecting the community while interacting with it positively. People will once again feel safe in their own communities.
Criminal Justice and Police Reform
Kingston is at a tipping point. We need someone who is willing to work with everyone and come to a common understanding of how to act.
I have and will continue to listen to the thoughts and fears of the community. Additionally, I have and will continue to work with the law enforcement community to extend and continue public outreach, training, and community involvement.
I have shared my ideas of exploring the addition of mental health studies to the police academy or hiring mental health professionals to accompany officers when responding to calls. Additionally, we need to explore allocating funds to protect and serve vulnerable populations. This can be accomplished by training officers in areas such as diversity and inclusion and Continuing Professional Training courses relevant to vulnerable populations.
Officers from the city, county, and state levels are on board with these concepts and how we can make Kingston safer for everybody.
Community Building and Investment:
A sense of community is vital for the long-term success of Kingston. We need to increase community involvement programs and events.
A sense of pride needs to return to Kingston. This starts with politicians getting to know their constituents, getting to know what the people really want and do not want.
The White Eagle has graciously allowed to me use their facility to host meetings and I plan to do so on a consistent basis.
I have teamed up with Mentor Me of Ulster County and will be donating my time and resources towards bettering the community.
In-Patient Mental Health and Detox Services
We must come together and stand together on this issue; the elected officials, community members, and I stand together to support those among us who are truly struggling.
It is vital for Ulster County and the City of Kingston to have behavioral health and substance abuse services. The fast-growing opioid epidemic combined with the increase in depression and suicide numbers since the start of Covid has left Kingston residents in a very tough position. At the height of Covid the cities only behavioral health services facilities were closed, make the needed care even more difficult.
In addition to closing all these facilities, we are also lacking housing for people with mental health and substance abuse diagnoses. As someone who was in foster care, I know firsthand the importance of stability in someone’s life. Having the support that is needed in the place that you live is vital for this stability.
Even County Executive Pat Ryan explained to The Daily Freeman “To hear the calls and the heartbreak and almost the panic of many of our residents, it’s just unacceptable,” Ryan said
I will work with the community and the medical facilities to bring back and expand the much-needed behavioral health services our city and community need.