Brownstein, Ippolito and Torres seek seats on New Paltz Town Board

This year, two town council seats are up for grabs. While Jeff Logan is not seeking another term, his former running mate Daniel Torres is. Torres is joined by political newcomers David Brownstein and Jennifer Ippolito.

Jennifer Ippolito

Ippolito is running on the Independence line.

Why did you decide to run for office, and what experience would you bring to the job?

This past January, I participated in the women’s march on Washington and was inspired to become more active in my community government. As a lifelong resident and homeowner in the Hudson Valley, creator and original owner of the Cheese Plate in Water Street Market, multilingual educator and parent of four teenage children in the New Paltz school district, I feel it appropriate and necessary to fulfill my civic duty and run for elected office. Currently, I am a teacher of English as a second language, and in this position I promote my students’ academic progress and coordinate and support the well-being of students and their families. I assist with the community-building efforts of my school district. As a result of my work with the immigrant community, I deal with issues of inequity on a daily basis and strive to empower our most vulnerable. Through my previous management experience in corporate food, entrepreneurship and extensive committee work, I have developed my abilities in the following areas: evaluation of systems/policies/costs for opportunities to save money, adherence to compliance and efficiency as required by policy and regulation, [and] excellent communication and interpersonal skills leading to effective and respectful collaboration with all parties to come to a favorable and balanced agreement.


What are the top three challenges facing the town right now? How would you like to see them addressed?

I am concerned about our rising property taxes, affordability of our community for our senior residents and families, and the safety and the welfare of our children. I will continue to make support, advocacy, and community building my goals through dedication, transparency and sustained effort in effective decision-making and problem-solving that has all demographics of our community in mind. As a member of the New Paltz Town Board, I will help to calibrate our initiatives to be responsive to the needs of our community of today and our community of tomorrow. This includes development of a plan, through cooperation and public input, to offset our residential taxes. I know that I, for one, cannot continue to have my taxes rise year-over-year at the rate that they have been in the last couple of years! I also want to focus on an updated and effective master plan that allows for the balance between our fragile environment and the needs of our residents and visitors. As a board member, I will also keep town autonomy in mind; although the town and village must work closely together, our town board must keep a balanced and unbiased perspective with regard to decision-making. A decision that is good for the village may not necessarily be good for the town, and vice versa. Last May, I was honored to be awarded the 2017 meritorious citizenship award for justice from the Police Chiefs Association of Ulster County for my actions at the scene of a hit-and-run accident. Bicycle/pedestrian safety is of paramount importance to me. Luckily, the amazing young woman struck by the vehicle is strong and fierce and is still recovering.

If elected, what liaison positions would best suit your strengths when you begin your term in January?

I have served on several committees as leader, as liaison and as worker bee, so my flexibility lends itself to working on many different types of projects with many different people. I focus my energy on areas of greatest need.

David Brownstein

Brownstein’s name will be on the Democrat and Working Families lines.

Why did you decide to run for office, and what experience would you bring to the job?

I decided to run for office the morning after the last presidential election. I woke up very concerned for our future. From the entire electoral process and especially the result, it was clear to me that the American people were angry, divided and ultimately, had no confidence in our existing government. I decided that I could no longer sit on the sidelines and complain about a failed system and had to become part of the solution. It is the job of the town council to make decisions that best serve the wants and needs of New Paltz citizens. The only way we can do this is by committing to listen well to each other, consider opposing viewpoints and see the world through each other’s eyes. We have to be willing to be wrong in our initial opinion so that we might make a better decision for all, even when it is not our idea in the first place.

What are the top three challenges facing the town right now? How would you like to see them addressed?

The most important challenge facing the town right now is that our town board (at least several of the council members) seem to lack a sense of basic kindness, respect and tolerance toward each other. I am surprised and dismayed by the name-calling, back-biting, constant interrupting and lack of decorum that seems to be business as usual at town board meetings. It is a disgrace to the office we have been elected to hold and the town we have pledged to serve. It is clear to me that many value being right over doing right and that is a great shame.

Another important challenge facing the town right now is the relocation of our town hall. We have been operating out of rental trailers that are expensive, do not meet our needs and are too far from the center of New Paltz. It is time to make a move. There has been a fair amount of disagreement on the town council regarding whether to build a new town hall (where the old one previously existed) or whether to relocate to an already-existing building. I am strongly in favor of the town board exploring repurposing an existing property and building nearer to the center of the village and town. I am hopeful that an adequately-sized space may be found where town and village governments might share space and services in one central location, And I am confident that this course of action will financially benefit taxpayers while increasing the efficiency of our government.

Another important challenge we face is clarifying the zoning in the gateway district. With the building moratorium coming to an end, it is vital that we clearly identify not just what we don’t want in our town, but what we do want. In the absence of a full review of our master plan (which does not seem likely at this time), I am quite pleased that the Route 299 Gateway Committee has begun an inclusive planning process that addresses this important region of New Paltz.

Truth is, we face a lot of challenges in New Paltz. I am confident that we can meet these challenges well when we commit to conduct our discourse and decision making civilly and kindly, even as we disagree. I co-founded and have effectively led a community organization, Wild Earth, for the past 14 years. If elected, I look forward to bringing my consensus building and leadership skills to the town of New Paltz. I am excited to serve.

Daniel Torres

Torres is running on the Democrat and Working Families party lines.

Why did you decide to run for office, and what experience would you bring to the job?

I decided to run for reelection because I care about the future of our town. I love New Paltz; I brag about living here constantly. I feel like the community has given me so much, and serving on the town council has been my way of giving back. I have served in office under two different administrations and the differences have been drastic.

In my first two years on the council, we couldn’t even agree on a meeting date with village officials, let alone work with them. It was not uncommon for members of the board to shout down members of the public, scream at meetings and sometimes simply storm out.

That culture has changed since Neil Bettez was elected supervisor and I was appointed deputy supervisor. While we have our moments, the tone is professional from the majority of the board members, and I am very proud to be a part of this board and to serve as deputy.

My experience as a lifelong community member, a former school board member, a homeowner and four years of service to the town with two as deputy supervisor gives me the experience needed to continue successfully in this position.

What are the top three challenges facing the town right now? How would you like to see them addressed?

For me the top three issues are taxes, planning and infrastructure. We no longer have the luxury of using the fund balance to offset our town budget. This year’s proposed budget sees taxes go up slightly, while overall spending goes down. As a town, we need to be creative in terms of solutions. We have to work with our village colleagues to share services and continue to seek outside funding for projects. A shared municipal center would be a great way to do this. The previous proposal that the town worked on resulted in a project that would be fiscally irresponsible for the town to move forward, and one that a majority of the board does not support. I believe that the work that Mayor Rogers and Supervisor Bettez have put into exploring our options for a shared space is our best hope at seeing it become a reality without undue burden on the taxpayers.

I believe that we need to have a better handle on our planning, both through local law and who we select to serve on the planning board. One member of the town board has publicly taken an issue with my statement regarding planning board members who voted against having a further environmental review on the CVS/Five Guys proposal. Appointing members to the planning board who keep our environment in mind should not be an afterthought. I am not willing to compromise our environment for the sake of “progress,” and it is a central part of my job to choose candidates for the planning board who best represent our community values. We are a progressive community and deserve to have a board that reflects those views. It is unfortunate that members of the town board claim to be environmentalists while defending those who make decisions that negatively impact our community and ignore dozens of testimonials from community members who share this sentiment. Beyond the planning board, I would like to see updated zoning in the gateway district and eventually create a joint master plan for the town and village. Doing this will allow us to be proactive in support of projects that enrich our community, as opposed to being reactive against those that we don’t want.

The town, under the leadership of Supervisor Neil Bettez, has done tremendous work on our infrastructure. Neil acquired grant funding to fix Moriello Pool, he secured funding to fix the Springtown Road rail trail bridge and was instrumental in working with the county to finally replace the Carmine Liberta Bridge. Going forward, I’m excited to work to expand our efforts to create a strong foundation for all who live, work, study and visit in this special place.

To learn about the Town of New Paltz supervisor candidates, visit