The Woodstock Town Board unanimously approved a resolution supporting legislation allowing undocumented immigrants to receive driver licenses, a move supported by area law enforcement.
Woodstock joins other communities in support of the Driver License Access Privacy Act, also known as Green Light NY, making its way through the state legislature. It allows anyone in New York to obtain a driver license regardless of immigration status, provided they meet all other requirements.
Soon after the 9/11 attacks, the state required social security numbers to obtain licenses, shutting out anyone who is undocumented. Many can’t rely solely on the limited public transportation, so they drive without a license to maintain employment, risking arrest and deportation if caught.
Woodstock Police Chief Clayton Keefe and Saugerties Police Chief Joseph Sinagra support the law, Supervisor Bill McKenna said. “Licensing drivers improves public safety by ensuring that everyone driving our roads is properly licensed, informed of our traffic laws and more likely operating a registered, inspected and insured vehicle,” read part of the resolution. “The Town Board of the Town of Woodstock expresses a collective desire for safety and security for all of our residents and further, our commitment to pursuing the common good by ensuring shared resources such as roads and highways be accessed and utilized responsibly and safely.”
Twelve states including Connecticut and Vermont allow licensing of undocumented immigrants.
A copy of the resolution will be sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo, Assemblyman Kevin Cahill and state Senator George Amedore.
Town Board liaisons assigned
McKenna assigned the following Town Board members as liaisons to various boards, commissions and organizations: Lorin Rose: Public Access Television Committee, Comeau Stewardship Advisory Committee, Woodstock Land Conservancy.
Richard Heppner: Arts and Cultural Alliance, Commission for Civic Design, Cemetery Task Force.
Reggie Earls: Senior Recreation Committee, Youth Center, Chamber of Commerce.
Laura Ricci: Woodstock Public Library, Tree Committee.
New deputy supervisor appointed
McKenna welcomed Maria-Elena Conte as the new deputy supervisor, who was sworn in by Town Clerk Jackie Earley and took a seat at the table with the rest of the board.
The deputy supervisor is often an elected Town Board member, but that is not required.
Since she was appointed, but not elected, Conte has no vote, but her input at the table is welcomed and encouraged, McKenna said.
The deputy supervisor assumes the duties of supervisor when he or she is incapacitated or otherwise unavailable and also chairs Town Board meetings in the supervisor’s absence.
Women’s March Saturday
Conte, a co-organizer of the 3rd Annual Woodstock Women’s March, reminded people of the event, part of a national day of protest calling for equal rights. The march will start at the Woodstock Playhouse at 11 a.m., continue up Mill Hill Road, then onto Rock City Road, ending with a rally at Andy Lee Field with speakers and music.
“We are focusing on a lot of issues, such as immigration… victims of abuse,” Conte said. “We have some great speakers and musicians.”