With GOP’s help, John Parete is elected county legislature chair

John Parete. (Photo: Dan Barton)

John Parete. (Photo: Dan Barton)

With unanimous support from Republican legislators, Democrat John Parete of Olive was elected the 13th chairman of the Ulster County Legislature Tuesday night. Parete defeated Hector Rodriguez of New Paltz by a 13-10 vote, with Democrats Richard Parete of Stone Ridge (his son) and David Donaldson of Kingston (and Parete) joining the 10-member Republican minority. Ten of 13 Democrats voted for Rodriguez.

While Parete called for civility and cooperation between the parties, rancor remained among some Democrats who backed the losing candidate.

Majority Leader Don Gregorius of Woodstock said that electing Parete had “disenfranchised thousands of voters and many thousands of people who want change in the leadership of the Ulster County Legislature. The same Republican caucus that has been responsible for leadership the last four years is now choosing the new leadership this session. It is clear the voters wanted real change not he same group with a new handpicked leader that’s disenchanted with his own majority party’s choice.”


Minority Leader Ken Ronk of Wallkill, after delivering 10 votes to seal Parete’s election, had no comment.

Democrat Jeanette Provenzano of Kingston, who nominated Rodriguez, accused Republicans of “selling their souls.”

“John Parete never sought the nomination. They found a renegade in our party [Parete]. That’s fine. Congratulations,” she said.

Rodriguez thanked those Democrats who twice supported him  — Rodriguez won the support of his party’s caucus in a straw poll last month — and predicted the new Democratic majority would have “a lot of energy and a lot of ideas you haven’t seen in the last four years [of Republican rule].”

Richard Parete called his father his hero.

“It’s a great honor to nominate your hero,” he said.

Republican Mary Beth Maio of Milton seconded Parete’s nomination. Democrat Ken Wishnick of New Paltz seconded Rodriguez’s.

Chairmen serve one-year terms and are paid $19,500 a year.

In other action, Parete called the legislature into special session for Thursday at 7 p.m. to consider home-rule legislation to extend the 1 percent sales tax through 2015. Two bills are before them, one from Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, the other from state Sen. William Larkin. Deadline for passage is Monday in order to meet state legislature deadlines.

There are 3 comments

  1. nopolitics

    Well it is time to be “sick and tired”(her phrase not mine) of the “nonrenegade” Democrats such as Provenzano, miffed at people who dare complain to an elected official about anything(guess life is supposed to be perfect and God help you if you dare think it is not under their “leadership” or some such arrogance), screaming at Kevin Cahill over the sales tax issue when it was the current County Exec(who started as a Republican and now has crossed over the boundary) who decided he was not going to go along with what every other county in the state does on this Safety Net financing issue without pressure applied as was necessary for Cahill to do otherwise nothing would have changed– because of his own arrogance and his own incessant need to paint himself as better than everyone else while behaving as jerk and making tons of money at it(“nice work if you can find it”), and then to proclaim that it is all Cahill’s fault while some other nonrenegade Dems take this tack as well, which is disingenuous at best because these same local officials screamed and hollered for so long that their community was bearing the heaviest of burdens over financing of the Safety Net program, and instead of going after an obstructionist on the issue like the county exec, they are happiest to go after Kevin Cahill.
    It’s really time to GROW UP, but we’re never apparently going to see this when it comes to politics at ANY level anymore over ANY issue no matter how big or small.
    So, if Republicans “sold their souls”, I would think it was over adopting a man who is now county executive who became a turncoat to save his own political soul— who was happy to let things stay the same with the Safety Net and continues to inappropriately bash Kevin Cahill over the issue, because it is always “anything that makes the county exec. look good in the next press release”. I have to wonder if the county exec. is running for re-election to office every day of every week of every month of every year, who is doing the daily WORK the county exec. is supposed to do?!(three guesses as to what the answer is, where the first two don’t count)

  2. Rainier Parade

    This is absolutely disgraceful. It appears Parete is a Democrat so he can undermine the efforts of his own party. And he doesn’t even live in the district he represents.

  3. nopolitics

    He is his son’s(you know, the one who tried to FORCE “mental health screenings” on local schools–which thankfully was rejected by the schools)hero, so give him a chance. At the very least, a new crew can hardly screw up any worse than the old…..
    OR CAN THEY? Stay tuned…..

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