by Maria Strinni / Strinni Studio
Deciding to build a family changes everything. It changes your career, your social life, your schedule; how you view the world and your place in it.
“It’s natural when you are at this stage,” Jimmy says. “You start becoming interested in your community in a way you haven’t before, and wanting the community to be the best it can be. Because this is the community where my daughter will grow up.”
What Jimmy wants for his family is community-mindedness that fully takes advantage of, but preserves, the natural beauty of Dutchess County. He wants to help spur farmland preservation, ecotourism, wind and solar energy, and land conservancy in ways that maintain the character of the community. “There are things we can do to leverage that rural beauty of the Hudson Valley as an economic driver,” Jimmy says.
He also wants reliable, cost-effective emergency services and better transportation services throughout the county. Mostly, Jimmy wants active and engaged representation for his 25th District (comprised of the towns of Amenia, Washington and Pleasant Valley) in county decision-making.
“There’s just no forceful voice representing out area and there certainly is no voice on the front porches, engaging people,” Jimmy says. “They don’t know who their county legislator is and what their county government even does.”
Jimmy, 32, served five years as a submarine officer in the Navy. Now, he is a localization project manager for Google, Inc.
Jimmy is running on the Democratic and Working Families lines against Republican Deirdre Houston. But he says he’s trying to keep his campaign as non-partisan as possible.
“How did we end up in a (political environment) that almost everyone finds unacceptable? I’m working really hard to transcend that,” he says.
Jimmy says most of his neighbors, regardless of party affiliation, are receptive to a county candidate reaching out to them. He’s been “uplifted” by the non-partisan support he is receiving.
“Being a good neighbor Is about people serving their communities and working together,” says Jimmy, “so I decided to step up and take it upon myself to do something through our county legislature.”
He reached out to county Democratic party chairperson in February, and she responded in 15 minutes, Jimmy says. Before he knew it, he was a candidate for county legislature.
“I asked myself two questions: “Is this a place where I feel I can do some good?’ And then I thought, ‘Can I win?’ You know, I have to say, the election for this seat was decided by 100 votes last time. So, I decided to go for it and I’ve been all in since then. It’s been a blast.”
The best part, Jimmy says, has been engaging with constituents and learning all the ways an individual can make a difference in local government.
“It’s a lot of work, because I want to do it right. I have met so many amazing people in the community that I would not have met otherwise,” Jimmy says. “A lot of people do not realize the ecosystem of amazing folks who keep communities running; people you don’t get to meet unless you get involved. When you engage a little deeper it’s an incredibly rewarding experience. It shows you all the ways the government works, and the ways in which it could be better.”
With a dedicated and hard working candidate like Jimmy who wants the best for his family and the families of his neighbors, the future of the Dutchess County legislature certainly looks a lot more transparent and inviting.