Ulster People for Justice & Democracy is a volunteer group of Ulster County residents fighting for a government that represents the people, an economy that works for all of us instead of just a few, and a society where all people are treated fairly and live with dignity and freedom.

We endorse candidates who are aligned with our platform and committed to bringing about:

  • A thriving and inclusive economy that supports ALL of us.
  • Protection of the rights and well-being of the most vulnerable among us.
  • A healthy, sustainable environment for now and generations to come.
  • Bernie Sanders for United States President
  • Dave Clegg for Ulster County District Attorney
  • 12 candidates for Ulster County Legislature:
    • John Schoonmaker – District 2 (Saugerties) 
    • Abe Uchitelle – District 5 (Uptown City of Kingston)
    • Peter Criswell – District 7 (City of Kingston)
    • Laura Petit – District 8 (Esopus)
    • Mici Simonofsky – District 11 (Marlborough)
    • Betty Diorio – District 12 (Plattekill)
    • Adriana Magaña – District 14 (Shawangunk/Wawarsing)
    • Tracey Bartels – District 16 (Town of Gardiner & Town of Shawangunk) 
    • Carolyn Hansen – District 18 (Town of Hurley, Town of Marbletown)
    • Manna Jo Greene – District 19 (Town of Marbletown, Town of Rosendale)
    • Eve Walter – District 20 (Town of New Paltz, Village of New Paltz)
    • Kathy Nolan – District 22 (Towns of Denning, Hardenburgh, Olive, Shandaken

What is the significance of an Ulster People endorsement?

An Ulster People endorsement means we believe a candidate embodies our values, and will work to advance our platform when in office. We arrive at our decisions after an extensive vetting process and democratic deliberation. Learn more

Read on to learn more about why we support these candidates!

Want to vote for Bernie in the primary? You MUST be a registered Democrat! The deadline to change party affiliation is February 14, 2020.

Dave Clegg

Ulster County District Attorney

Dave Clegg is committed to ending mass incarceration and ushering in a new system of restorative justice.


Prosecutors are the most influential actors in the criminal justice system. They have almost unlimited power to push for more punishment, often in ways that are largely hidden from public view.”


The District Attorney is the most powerful elected official in the entire county. For too long, that power has been abused. With this election, Ulster County has the chance to finally end an era of mass incarceration.

Dave Clegg has an extraordinary career of legal service. After clerking for the NAACP in college, Clegg served for four years as a VISTA volunteer providing legal aid to the Lakota Sioux in Nebraska and South Dakota.

In his 37 years here since then, Clegg has served as a defense attorney, Assistant Public Defender for nine years and Chair of the Ulster County Human Rights Commission. Dave teaches college-level classes at the Woodbourne Correctional Facility with the Rising Hope Program.

As District Attorney, Dave intends to:

  • End cash bail for those charged with misdemeanors, unless they are a public safety risk.
  • Not prosecute low-level marijuana offenses except in extraordinary circumstances.
  • Advocates the use of Drug Court to rehabilitate people addicted to opioids.
  • Promote rehabilitation and diversion.
  • Stop the current emphasis on maximizing convictions, and usher in a new system of restorative justice.

Ulster County Legislature Endorsements

Our County Legislature makes important decisions that affect our daily lives—from infrastructure, policing, and public health, to our environment, economy, and human rights. Learn more

John Schoonmaker

John Schoonmaker
(District 2 – Saugerties)

John has served on the Saugerties Town Board since 2017. He has earned his progressive credentials publicly denouncing the Pilgrim Pipeline and serving as a volunteer on Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign and a field manager for Zephyr Teachout’s congressional campaign. John has also been endorsed by the WFP, Citizen Action, and the UC Young Dems.


Abe Uchitelle

Abe Uchitelle
(District 5 – Uptown City of Kingston)

Abe is a 30-year old tech executive (president of Dragon360) and a founding sponsor of Hudson Valley Tech Meetup. He also serves on the boards of the Kingston Land Trust and Family of Woodstock.  Abe fights for tenants as a member of the Village Landlord-Tenant Relations Committee and for improved bus service in the county as a member of the Town Transportation Committee.


Peter Criswell 
(District 7 – City of Kingston)

Peter is currently a curriculum program developer at Omega Institute, serves on the Kingston Arts Commission and sings with Key of Q, the Hudson Valley’s LGBTQ and Allied Chorus.  In the past, he has served as executive director of four non-profits committed to preserving the environmental health and unique historical character of the Mid-Hudson Valley. He has also served as union liaison to the national Actors’ Equity Association. Criswell is also endorsed by the WFP.


Laura Petit

Laura Petit
(District 8 – Esopus)

Laura is the current District 8 legislator and served two terms in the past. She is a staunch advocate for a sustainable local environment and effectively advocates for improved energy efficiency and sustainable waste management practices.  She is the author of the nationally recognized New Paltz Zero Waste Action Plan and has secured millions in grant funding for her community. Laura has championed numerous local initiatives, including the Ulster County Volunteer Incentive Program for emergency responders, access to recreational facilities for her constituents, and a repair cafe.


Mici Simonofsky 
(District 11 – Marlborough)

Mici is a lifelong resident of Marlborough and worked for 45 years as a registered nurse in the area. She is a local community activist, serving four years on the Marlborough Town Board and 10 years as the Chair of the Marlborough Democratic Committee.  She is dedicated to improving both the political and the natural environment, and hopes to leave Ulster County a better place for her grandchildren.  

Betty Diorio
(District 12 – Plattekill)

Having grown up in a small farming community, Betty understands the importance of supporting small family farms and sustainable organic practices. She served on the Marlborough Town Council for 4 years and has been actively involved on multiple fronts with the town’s first responders as a volunteer, trustee and training director with the EMT Ambulance Corp, and with the Milton Engine Company, where she is president of the Ladies Auxiliary.  

Betty is also endorsed by the WFP.

(845) 750-0428   

Adriana Magaña
(District 14 – Shawangunk/Wawarsing)

Adriana runs the Center for Bioregional Living in Ellenville, NY, a hands-on educational campus for students and clients.  An environmental educator and organizer of permaculture workshops and trainings, Adriana focuses on “earth care, people care and fair share,” and brings a broad understanding and creative, self-empowering community solutions to regional problems.  She is a musician, an antiwar and environmental activist, and wants to make organic food more widely available.  


Tracey Bartels

Tracey Bartels
(District 16 – Town of Gardiner & Town of Shawangunk)

Currently serving as the legislator for District 16,  Bartels was elected in January 2019 to Chair the Legislature.  She is a fierce advocate for sustainable energy and efficiency alternatives. She sponsored legislation to require that all new county construction be built to LEED (green) standards and has made fiscally and environmentally responsible waste management solutions a priority.  She has also fought for criminal justice reform and improving conditions at the county jail. 


Carolyn Hansen
(District 18-Hurley/Marbletown)

Carolyn is a lawyer who has been  involved for decades with professional organizations involved  in developing restorative justice and similar programs to improve the criminal justice system.  She has presented programs for business and professional associations on implicit bias and cross cultural communications and spent five years as an executive committee member of the Dispute Resolution Section of the NY State Bar.  Carolyn is a board member of the Rondout Valley Holistic Health Community and a volunteer practitioner and devotes much of her time to nonprofits engaged in environmental and sustainability efforts. She is also a member of both the Marbletown and the County Democratic Committees.  


Manna Jo Greene
(District 19-Rosendale)

In addition to serving as the legislator in District 19,  Manna is currently the Environmental Director for Hudson River Sloop Clearwater.  A life-long environmental professional and community activist, Manna takes a leading role in virtually every aspect of the Hudson Valley’s efforts to transition to a locally-based, sustainable, clean energy economy.  She is also a life-long advocate and activist for civil rights, peace, and social and environmental justice. Manna was a registered critical care nurse for 22 years and for 8 years served on the Rosendale Town Board before joining the Legislature.


Eve Walter 
(District 20 – New Paltz)

As a research scientist at both the Institute for Family Health and the Benjamin Center for Public Policy Initiatives at SUNY New Paltz, Eve’s areas of focus have been violence against women, youth risk behaviors and income/racial disparities in health.  She has served on the New Paltz Planning Board since 2017 and is currently its chair. She has also served as vice chair of the Ulster County Criminal Justice Council and was appointed to the Ulster County Youth Council and to New York’s Commission for Women’s Suffrage. 


Kathy Nolan
(District 22-Shandaken etc.)

Currently serving as the legislator in District 22, Kathy is a pediatrician and bioethicist, and a fierce advocate for public health.  She is also a tireless and effective environmentalist, a leader in the fight against the Pilgrim Pipeline and for New York State’s pioneering ban on fracking.  Nolan’s activism includes co-founding Concerned Health Professionals of New York and in the leadership of Physicians for Social Responsibility and Concerned Health Professionals of New York.  Before joining the legislature, she served on Ulster County’s Tourism Advisory Board. 

(845) 688-9702

About Our Endorsement Process

Our local and regional endorsements are entirely decided by our all-volunteer voting members. The process begins with an extensive candidate questionnaire, and candidates have the opportunity to address our group at meetings which are open to the public. This is followed by lengthy interviews with our endorsement committee, and sometimes follow up questions. The final decision is made by our full voting membership. A candidate must receive the support of at least two thirds of our full voting membership to receive an endorsement.

State and national endorsements are a bit different. As a chapter of both NYPAN and Our Revolution, we work in coalition with our sister groups across the state to vet candidates. After these organizations make their endorsement decision, we vote as a chapter about whether or not to echo that endorsement. As with local endorsements, a candidate must receive the support of two-thirds of voting membership to win an Ulster People endorsement.

As chapter of NYPAN and Our Revolution, we also have the opportunity to recommend our locally endorsed candidates for their endorsements. We are proud to announce that this year Our Revolution has endorsed four candidates in Ulster County based on our recommendation: Dave Clegg, John Schoonmaker, Kathy Nolan, and Adriana Magaña.