The first registered Republican announced his candidacy this week for the District 2 seat on the county legislature. Al Bruno, 58, said he hopes to bring family and constitutional values back to the increasingly Democratic legislative body.
“I’ve been thinking about running for a number of years. I think that Saugerties needs more representation on the conservative side. I think we need more jobs in this county,” said Bruno. “I support the arts and green building programs but I think we have to employ people. Without the jobs, you can’t support the arts. … You need the income and the means to support them — the only way we can support those less fortunate is if the money is there.”
A 1979 graduate of Saugerties High, Bruno was born and raised in Glasco. He is currently employed as an HVAC technician with Vassar Brothers Hospital in Poughkeepsie, but sits on a slew of town committees: he is the chair of both the board of assessment review and the ethics commission and is a member of the Saugerties Transportation Advisory Council. Up until this year he served as a member of both the Conversation Advisory Commission and the Climate Smart Committee, but ultimately “ran out of days of the week for meetings.”
He was instrumental in the establishment of sidewalks on Washington Avenue, which facilitate a safe journey for students who walk that stretch to get to school and to the fine-tuning of Saugerties’ ethics code in October of last year. He said that his experience on the ethics board would inform his comportment in the legislature, should he be elected to the position.
“There’s been a push with charges of corruption and ethics,” said Bruno.” I see in the local papers, in the news what’s happening in the legislature. I hope that, being on the ethics board and seeing what goes into ethics laws, I can bring a good sense of fairness to that.”
Currently, Bruno lives in Malden with his wife Lisa, and has one daughter and two step-daughters.
One of the planks in Bruno’s platform is reframing payment in lieu of taxes agreements in a way that would increase local jobs, he said.
“Pilot programs are being given out like candy to people who aren’t bringing jobs — a hotel employs about 15 people,” said Bruno. “I don’t want to see our tax money wasted on things that aren’t going to bring jobs in … I want to see if we can [amend] the Pilot programs to give businesses incentives to hire local people here.”
Bruno said that he’s “not running for office, but running for the people.”
“I’m going to do what I can to help as many people that I can within the village of Saugerties, [particularly] Malden,” he said. “Maybe on a county level I can somehow bring funds to make a parking garage in the village happen, or get the county involved in creating more parking in the village. It may just be reconfiguring some spaces … [I support] the shovel-ready program and we should [continue to] explore the Kings Highway corridor and make it user friendly … I’m going to look for the funds and the programs that could possibly make that happen.”
The District 2 seat, up for grabs this November, is currently held by Joe Maloney. Councilman John Schoonmaker, a Democrat, has already announced his candidacy.