river muse

I’m running

Posted 4/5/23

As if being a new grandmother weren’t compelling enough, I have taken on a new occupation. I’m running for office as a member of the Tusten Town Board. 

It wasn’t my idea, …

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river muse

I’m running


As if being a new grandmother weren’t compelling enough, I have taken on a new occupation. I’m running for office as a member of the Tusten Town Board. 

It wasn’t my idea, exactly. I’m not sure anyone is compelled to run for town board as much as we are drafted. It’s not like running for Congress, where you can get that famous bean soup from the Congressional cafeteria and a lifetime healthcare plan if you get elected. 

But it does feel like a civic duty to serve in some capacity after living in one of the most beautiful towns in America for over 20 years. When I was asked if I had any interest in running four years ago, I demurred. Although I have voted in Tusten for years, I wasn’t living here full-time until 2019. I didn’t want to be seen as a carpetbagger. 

When we lived in the city, my husband was involved in local politics for all the years I’ve known him. Forty. Our children remember petitioning with him after school in the playground, in front of the supermarket, even at our bungalow in Monticello, where most of the residents were also city folk. He was a District Leader for 18 years, and was also a member of the community board, where he served as chair of the whole board and of many committees. All of these positions were voluntary and unpaid. But he made a huge impact on the community we lived in, which underwent huge changes in the decades we lived there.

His leadership on the community board led to two schools being built in the time our children went from birth to kindergarten, an unprecedented rate in New York City. He knew how to get concessions from businesses to refurbish subway stations and prevent Lower Manhattan from out-of-context development. When our beloved Congressman died, he helped get the best replacement for that seat in a special election. When the first plane flew into the Trade Center that bright September morning, my husband was under a voting machine in the nearby middle school, getting it to open properly. He felt the earth shake beneath him. As a bar owner, only Election Day could get him out of bed before 10 a.m.

I served our downtown community too, as a parent council member and Parent Association president. I was an elected judicial delegate and a Party State Committee member at various times. We hosted many meetings with residents and local officials in our downtown loft. Until we moved in 2013, we had a stash of folding chairs for such events. But my political activity was always secondary to my family.

Politics can have a nasty association these days. But in my experience, it’s not the fault of the process as much as the people involved. Good politics get things accomplished for people. It’s a process that can be messy, but it has a framework that gets things done, with compromise at its heart. In a democracy in a small town, everyone has the chance to be heard. Goodwill goes a long way to creating a peaceful community. 

Representing a community means listening to everyone, not just the folks you agree with. So I’ll be on the campaign trail this summer, getting to know my neighbors a little better, stepping outside my comfort zone. I want to do a good job, but I know my granddaughter will always come first.

tusten town board, candidacy,


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