Mary Geick Wawro is the owner of Mary’s Little Lambs day-care center, a business she has owned for 20 years. She is a lifelong resident of Saugerties, and has been active in the PTA, Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts. She is a single mother with five children and one grandchild. Wawro’s father, Bill Geick, was a county legislator representing Saugerties. Wawro has the Republican and Conservative endorsements.
What do you believe should be done with Golden Hill, the county-owned health facility?
I would like to see something be done so jobs can be saved and people have a place to live. I don’t know how it can be done. I talk to so many senior citizens. If their taxes go up they won’t have a home.
The town of Saugerties is working with the county to share snow-removal services. Do you think more services should be shared between the town and the county? If so, which?
Yes, I think there is a lot of duplication of services. We could streamline some stuff and save some money.
If elected, what would be your top priority?
I would try to get the budget under control, but we have to look at the state mandates we have and see if we can get control of them. We have to talk to state elected officials, work together and try to work some of them out. They may be good ideas, but they may not be doing what they were intended to.
How does your experience make you a good candidate?
I started out not planning to be a single mom with five kids. I found myself in the position after going to social services three times. I was not brought up to depend on social services. I got into a program called CAP, a pilot program from the state through the county to transition you off social services, and help you find work. I got licensed to do day-care, and have been doing it for 20 years, and have expanded to have three employees. Right now, we have 27 enrolled, with up to 16 at any given time. I’d be dealing with the state, and I’ve had a lot of experience negotiating the complexities. I’m very committed, and when I commit to do something I’m there.
Describe the role of a county legislator. What effect does county government have on residents?
Legislators administer budget and finances. We deal with policy, make policy, and we help people. It has a direct impact on people’s taxes, and where the money is going.
What specific policies will you advocate? How will these policies serve the interests of Saugerties residents?
One of my moms works with senior citizens in Saugerties, that’s definitely an issue I would work on. Also, child care and services for parents and children.
How would you rate the job performance of County Executive Mike Hein?
I think he has too much control. There needs to be more checks and balances. For instance, he can spend up to $50,000 without approval. That seems high to me. I think we need to be more in the middle, with more input from the Legislature. It was too far one way, and it went too far the other way. Bringing it down to 23 members would make it easier for people to be like-minded and have a good dialogue. Combining different committees would also be more productive.
Do you think the balance of power between the executive and legislature is as it should be?
I think the balance needs to be better, as I said. One thing I like about the redistricting is that with smaller districts you can really get an idea of what your constituents want.