At the July 17th Ulster County Legislature Regular Session, 59 speakers signed up for the public comment period. Many of them were there to address Resolution 285: A Local Law Adopting An Administrative Code To Create Term Limits.
But whether or not there should be term limits for county legislators wasn’t the main issue for many who showed up to speak. What they were primarily concerned with was that Reclaim NY was behind a well-funded push for passage of the law. They spoke about Reclaim’s association with Robert Mercer and Steve Bannon, about dark money, hidden agendas, outside influences trying to hijack our local democracy.
Reclaim NY is a 501c3 nonprofit organization funded by Mercer, a Long Island billionaire, hedge fund manager, owner of Cambridge Analytica and one of Trump’s largest campaign contributors. In 2016, Mercer donated at least $500,000 to Congressman John Faso’s election campaign.
Reclaim NY claims to be non-partisan, yet their mailings urging support for passage of the term limit legislation were only sent to registered Republicans. Reclaim also purchased full-page ads in local papers and many social media ads in support of the legislation.
Resolution 285 calls for limiting county legislators, the county executive and county comptroller to 12 years of service, but the 12-year clock would not start until after the local law is adopted, so all current officials would be able to serve another 12 years should the legislation become law.
The UCL voted to postpone the vote until the Sept 20th Legislative Session, thereby eliminating the possibility of the resolution getting on the ballot this election cycle.
Ulster People for Justice and Democracy does not have a formal stance on the matter of term limits, but if you would like to address the legislature about this law, or the decision to postpone the vote, or the intervention of Reclaim N.Y. in our local politics, plan to show up for the September 20th regular meeting of the UCL (Ulster County Office Bldg, 244 Fair St. in Kingston (6th fl) at 7PM and sign up to speak. Or just come to show your support for the process. And you can always contact your county legislator and express your views.
Find your legislator at http://ulstercountyny.gov/legislature/legislative-members.