Marjorie Block was born and raised in Saugerties. Her local roots go back even further, to 1680. Together, she and her husband, Harry, have raised five children in Saugerties. All of her children remain in the Hudson Valley.
Block, 52, has a long history of public service in Saugerties. She is probably best known for her work as president of the Saugerties Historical Society, and her work on the Kiersted House Museum and Dutch barn.
She is also the Saugerties village historian, a member of the Saugerties Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and chair of the Saugerties Tourism committee. She has also chaired the Mum Festival committee and the lighthouse auction committee.
A Democrat, she will appear on the Democratic and Working Families lines.
Why are you running for office?
I have lived in Saugerties all my life, and through my involvement in the Kiersted House and the Chamber of Commerce, and various other committees, I have been able to identify areas of interest where I feel I can be of service. For example, I see tourism as a catapult to economic development in Saugerties. I have also seen what a community can accomplish when it works together. I have that vantage point after working on things like the Dutch barn project for the Kiersted House.
I believe I have experience to bring to the table. I have a long relationship of service in this community.
What is the job of a Town Board member as you see it?
Looking out for the best interests of the community. Understanding the people of the community and their needs. Protecting our community members. For example, having programs and services in place for our seniors. I know the people of Saugerties, everything else I can learn.
Why do you think you’d be good at that job?
I love this town and its people. It’s my home. I care about this community and I have worked hard to do my part in its development. I’m proud to live here; it’s a great community. It’s a great place to raise a family and I’ve been a part of creating that. I have a long history of working with local government and business members in the community. I can offer my experience in many varied areas.
What issues are you most interested in?
I would say tourism and economic development are at the top of my list. Of course property taxes are also important to me. I am also especially interested in the senior members of our community. I want to explore ways we can protect them and improve their overall quality of life here.
Many candidates have identified the local economy as a top issue. Should the Town Board be doing more to address this?
Yes, I feel there are a number of things we could be doing. I’m not at all for a 50 percent tax cut for new businesses [an idea suggested earlier this year by the town’s Economic Development Committee chairman]. I think we have to also provide incentives to the established businesses that already support this community. I think we need to work on land development and streamlining that process by having sites shovel-ready and available for new business. I think we need to do more to develop the Rt. 32 corridor; for example, develop the 800 acres of Winston Farm. There has already been an environmental impact statement done for that area and now we need to move forward.
Are there any issues the board hasn’t addressed that you would like to see it take on in the coming years?
I would also like to see us work in concert with other neighboring municipalities for more consolidated services; an example of that is our Saugerties Animal Shelter boarding animals for other towns.
Do you feel town government is being run effectively and transparently? If not, what problems need to be addressed?
There needs to be more communication between the Town Board committees and the supervisor’s office. It is very difficult to get a response from the supervisor’s office. I am not pleased by the way the recent proposed budget was released to the county. You have good people working for the town who are looking out for the best interests of Saugerties—you have to communicate with them.
What is your message to the voters?
Together we can do this. In my experience I’ve seen various groups work together to accomplish many things in partnership. The Kiersted House is a good example, we have worked together with the Boys & Girls Club and Opus 40, just to name a couple organizations. I believe we can put aside our differences, expand our community, and work together for the common good.