Committed to working hard for New Paltz and Ulster County.

Social awareness and active engagement has been ingrained in me since I was born. Social awareness meant showing up at everyone’s battle, not just one’s own, while active engagement meant bravely adding my voice to this awareness by always speaking out against unfairness. With a PhD in Social Epidemiology at University at Albany, I have empirically examined the impact of race, income, and gender on poorer health and criminal justice outcomes. I fought for better funding for youth services in Ulster County on the Youth Board as advocacy chair, I argued for more reasonable responses to crime on the Ulster County Criminal Justice Council as vice-chair, I fought to save and maintain the Rosendale Theatre as its board President, and on the New York State Commission on Women’s Suffrage I speak out about the progress and shortcomings of women’s equity. As a college professor, I taught for nearly two decades years, mostly in the SUNY New Paltz Department of Sociology, educating hundreds of students in criminology, violence against women, delinquency, and social inquiry. I worked at the Benjamin Center for Public Policy examining government and non-profit policies and practices. Currently I serve as the senior research scientist at the Institute for Family Health training primary care doctors and conducting research to reduce racial and income disparities in health, and hold a faculty appointment as Associate Professor at Mount Sinai College of Medicine.

During my first term as an Ulster County Legislature

I proudly served as the Chair of Law Enforcement and Public Safety during a time of significant transformation in criminal justice both locally and in our State. In this position and as chair of the Criminal Justice Reform Taskforce, I believe I was able to encourage and support criminal justice work that centered on the rights and well being of the community, particularly communities of color. On Ways and Means I conducted deep and intensive investigatory work on all areas related to the wellbeing of our County. During my term I dedicated myself to working hard and speaking out in support of a highly progressive agenda. I feel I have made a positive impact and seek to continue this work in the legislature

A blended Ulster County family.

Over 20 years ago, I chose SUNY New Paltz as the place to start and build my career as a professor of sociology and criminology. I was immediately taken in by the Village’s energy, walkability, and social activism. I initially resided in our neighboring town of Rosendale moving to New Paltz in 2016 with my two children, Daisy and Quinn. We joined Craig Weinstein, Varsity Soccer coach for the New Paltz High School, and father to Reilly, Fiona, and Kieran to create our wonderful blended family of seven; the boys are completing high school and the girls are in New York City pursuing higher education in sustainability, political science, and social work.

Village Planning Board Chair

In November 2017, I was appointed to serve on the Village Planning Board and in May, 2018 appointed by the Village as the Planning Board Chair. I appreciate contributing to the effort of finding the balance between promoting smart growth in our Village and retaining the community’s character. In my capacity as Planning Board Chair, and as a community member, I attend Village Board meetings, adding my voice to the conversation to make our Village wonderful for all its residents.

Working to Protect Kids

In 1991, I began my first job in Ulster County at the Mental Health Association. I ran a teen drop-in center in the Hudson Valley Mall every Friday and Saturday night and developed the Youth-in-Action county-wide curriculum addressing HIV awareness and education in every school district. I left briefly to further my education but returned, and in 2003, I was appointed to the Ulster County Youth Board as the Chair of Youth Advocacy,  serving for four years. In this capacity, I received a Pride of Ulster County Award for my work defending youth program funding in our county. I continue to study and discuss region-wide youth risk behaviors and drug abuse prevention.

Serving County and State

I received a legislative appointment in 2005 to our county’s Criminal Justice Council, serving as its Vice-Chair for nine years. In 2009, I was among the earlier members of the Rosendale Theatre Collective, and in 2011, as the group finalized its status as an independent non-profit theatre, I was appointed as President, serving until 2014. In 2017, I received an Assembly appointment as a commissioner on the New York State Commission for Women’s Suffrage.

Working on Women’s Equity, Safety and Health

As a PhD in Epidemiology I have been studying violence against women and attitudes toward women for over 25 years. With the Benjamin Center for Public Policy Initiatives I work with government and nonprofits in our region to measure the efficacy of their work. With the Institute for Family Health I design and conduct research aimed at reducing  health disparities due to income, race, and ethnicity, and I train many of the health care professionals who serve in the county. In 2017, I created and implemented the New York State View on Women (VOW) poll; the first public opinion poll on women, and have published numerous papers on the subject of intimate partner violence with special focus on social attitudes that deny, condone, or marginalize its victims. This poll was implemented nationally in 2020 as the first US survey of social perceptions of women.

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