Candidates in Dutchess County executive race sit down with News 12
News 12 sat down with Democrat Joe Ruggiero and incumbent Republican Marc Molinaro, who is hoping to stay in office for a third term as Dutchess County executive.
Molinaro, who had an unsuccessful run at the governor’s office last year, says he is looking forward to “doing more and serving the people of Dutchess County.”
Ruggiero is running for the county's top job a second time having been defeated in 2007.
“There are a lot of issues going on in the county and I felt, after eight years of the current administration, there are things I want to address,” says Ruggiero.
The 49-year-old Wappingers Falls resident was previously the executive director of the New York State Bridge Authority and Town of Wappinger supervisor. He says one of his top priorities will be to clean up the environment. He blamed the county's poor air quality on the county-owned waste-to-energy facility.
“The county gets no revenue from it and at times when it doesn't burn enough garbage, the taxpayers have to subsidize the operations,” says Ruggiero.
Molinaro says “there is no one who's going to close that facility in the next 15 years.”
“Our waste to energy facility is how this county has removed solid waste for generations. The alternatives are no better,” he says.
On Wednesday, Molinaro, a 43-year-old Red Hook resident, released his proposed 2020 budget, with the largest tax cut in 20 years.
“We've secured the highest bond rating than any county in the state, which means we have a strong fiscal foundation,” he says.
Ruggiero disagreed with Molinaro’s assessment of the county’s finances.
“What we're going to do on day one is monitor where we are fiscally and get control of our spending,” says Ruggiero.
Voters will decide if Democrats can break Republican control of the county's leadership on Nov. 5. Voters in Dutchess County will also be electing a clerk, sheriff and district attorney.