People are waking up to national politics — how about local?
Every month, our 23 Ulster County legislators make decisions that matter: about justice, our environment, our economy, and how we treat the most vulnerable among us.
This November, all 23 legislative seats are up for election. This is our moment to make real change at the local level. Now is the time to learn about your legislator, research their voting record, and make sure they represent your values. If you feel your legislator doesn’t represent you, perhaps you would consider running yourself – or maybe you know of a friend or neighbor who would make a great candidate?
A Quick Look at the Job of an
Ulster County Legislator
Every two years, on odd-numbered years, we elect 23 “legislators” to serve as our representatives in the Ulster County Legislature— the legislative, appropriating and policy-determining body of our county. Our legislators make a lot of decisions that impact our daily lives— maybe it’s a job for YOU!
Who can be a county legislator?
Any registered voter can run for the office of county legislator, as long as she or he lives in the district they seek to represent and don’t hold any other elective public office.
What does a county legislator do, in a nutshell?
- Enacts, amends, or rescinds local laws and resolutions.
- Sets our county government’s administrative policies.
- Approves the county budget and authorizes spending of our county tax dollars.
- Decides the compensation and benefits of county employees.
- Approves county contracts.
- Responds to constituent concerns.
What does the job look like, day-to-day?
- Legislators attend a LOT of meetings. In addition to the monthly legislative session, they typically serve on at least two standing committees, some advisory committees, and they caucus with fellow legislators in advance of regular sessions.
- Legislators read and study documents. Many documents. Hundreds of documents.
- Legislators debate and discuss things with allies, opponents, and everyone in between.
- Legislators spend time out in public, hearing from constituents, talking to the press, joining in community activities.
What’s the pay and what are the hours?
Legislators make $14,000 per year plus the option of health insurance coverage. They also have the opportunity to build up savings through contributing to the NYS retirement system. Legislators work mostly on weekdays and weeknights (and occasionally weekends) and the number of hours worked each week varies widely from legislator to legislator for a variety of reasons.
How do you get the job?
You CAMPAIGN for it, and that’s practically another job in itself—the job of candidate. Successful candidates, in addition to having the skills to be a legislator: (1) have the time and enthusiasm to knock on doors and make phone calls just about every day; (2) have a good personal network and are able to put together a team to help reach out to voters; (3) have a clear message about who they are and why they are running; (4) can secure endorsements of political parties and organizations, and (5) can raise enough money to win (an estimated average of $10,000 for a county legislator race).
If you support the Ulster People platform and think this sounds like it might be a job for you, we’d like to hear from you! Email us at email@example.com for more information or submit a Local Candidate Endorsement Questionnaire.
Timeline of the Ulster County Legislature
- Late May/Early June
- Parties hold Nominating Conventions
- June 6, 2017
- First day to start circulation designating Petitions for Co. Legislature
- July 10–13, 2017
- Last days to file designating Petitions with UC Board of Elections
- July 25–30, 2017
- Ulster County Fair
- August 18, 2017
- Last day to mail in or register in-person voter registration form to vote in primary
- September 12, 2017
- Primary • Noon to 9 PM
- October 13, 2017
- Last day to mail in or register in-person voter registration form to vote in General Election
- November 7, 2017
- Election Day • 6 AM to 9 PM
How To Find Your County Legislative District
- Visit the Ulster Board of Election’s Polling Place Lookup
- Enter Your Information & click “Lookup”
- Your County Legislative District is listed under the heading “Related Jurisdictions”
- Look up your legislator by district at the Ulster County website
About Ulster People for Justice & Democracy
Ulster People for Justice & Democracy is platform-based political organization, unaffiliated with any party, that evolved out of the grassroots group Ulster County Volunteers for Bernie (aka Ulster4Bernie).
As Ulster4Bernie, we coordinated the petitioning effort in CD-19 to get Senator Bernie Sanders on the NYS Primary ballot and secured more signatures than any other Congressional District in New York (February, 2016) and sent two delegates for Bernie to the 2016 Democratic National Convention (July, 2016). We then elected one of those delegates to represent the 103rd Assembly District on the New York State Democratic Committee (September, 2016).
Now as Ulster People for Justice & Democracy, we aspire to bring the energy, enthusiasm and practical experience honed on the Bernie campaign to answer Bernie’s call to “start engaging at the local and state level in an unprecedented way.”
Our Endorsement Process
Local candidates for public office seeking to receive the endorsement of Ulster People should fill out our Local Candidate Endorsement Questionnaire. Our screening committee will contact you following receipt of the questionnaire. The committee will make a recommendation based on platform support and viability as a candidate. Final endorsement decisions are determined by a vote of our voting membership.