Ryan vs. Hayes for Ulster County Executive on Tuesday

Jack Hayes and Pat Ryan.

Voters will go to the polls Tuesday, April 30 to choose a county executive for the remainder of 2019.

Democrat and former 19th District congressional hopeful Patrick Ryan will face Ulster County Conservative Party Chairman Jack Hayes, running on the Republican line. The winner of the special election will fill the vacancy left when Mike Hein resigned in February to take a post in the administration of Governor Andrew Cuomo. Another election in November will choose a county executive for a full four-year term.

Ryan has been a familiar face to Ulster County voters since 2017 when he became one of seven Democrats seeking the party’s nomination in the race for the 19th Congressional District. Ryan was runner-up in the race to Antonio Delgado. Delgado would go to defeat incumbent Republican John Faso in November 2018. Ryan was the first candidate to throw a hat in the ring following Hein’s surprise announcement that he would step down. Armed with name recognition and a campaign organization leftover from the primary, Ryan beat out Kingston businesswoman and former state Senate candidate Pat Courtney Strong at a Democratic Party nominating convention in February.


Ryan is a 37-year-old Kingston native and Gardiner resident. Following his graduation from the United States Military Academy, he served six years in the U.S. Army, reached the rank of captain and served and headed up an infantry battalion intelligence section during two tours in Iraq. After obtaining a master’s in security studies from Georgetown University, Ryan went on to help found a company that produces intelligence gathering software for use by the military and law enforcement.

Ryan has built his county exec campaign around the concept of a localized version of the “Green New Deal” pushed by some progressive Democrats in Congress. Ryan’s strategy calls for a halt to additional fossil-fuel based projects in the county and the implementation of 100 percent renewable energy in all county buildings and vehicles by 2030. The plan also calls for job training to give county residents the skills to participate in the green energy economy.

“Not only can we save money in the medium and long range, but at this point we have a moral responsibility to wean ourselves off of something that is killing the planet,” said Ryan.

Ryan said that his other priorities included carrying on Hein’s record of holding the line on county taxes and coming up with new resources and strategies to combat the county’s opioid epidemic. Ryan said that he also wanted to promote equitable economic development that would both expand the county’s economy and promote affordability for county residents at all socioeconomic levels.

In contrast to Ryan, Hayes was a last-minute entrant into the race. County GOP officials filed a nomination for the Conservative Party chairman earlier this month, just ahead of the deadline to place a candidate on the ballot. Hayes, a 76-year-old retired state trooper, said he plans to take on Ryan, twice if need be, for the county executive seat.

“Whether I win or lose next week, I will be in the general election in November,” said Hayes. “I want to give the people of Ulster County an opportunity to elect a qualified and experienced person to be their county executive.”

Hayes praised Hein’s record on taxes. Continuing to hold the line, he said, was critical to stopping the exodus of taxpayers from upstate New York to more affordable areas. Hayes, who served as Gardiner town supervisor from 2002-03, said he would also improve communication and cooperation between the county executive’s office and municipalities

“It seems like the only time the county goes to the towns is when they need something from them, and I think we can do better than that,” said Hayes. “That communication will change drastically if I’m elected county executive.”

Hayes added that he wanted to lower social services costs by implementing strategies “at the front end” to help struggling Ulster County families before they become clients. And, while Ryan has said that he would enthusiastically opt-in to legalized marijuana sales in Ulster County should state lawmakers pass a legalization bill, Hayes is more skeptical. Hayes said that he was worried about the impact of legal marijuana in the midst of an opioid crisis. He added that he was concerned that many politicians viewed legal marijuana primarily as a quick-fix for the state’s fiscal woes. Despite his misgivings, Hayes said that he remained open to legal marijuana sales in the county — after a public process of examination and deliberation.

“If ever there was a case for a public referendum, [legal marijuana sales] is it,” Hayes said.

There are 5 comments

  1. JamaicaonHudson

    RYAN: As a “progressive” Democrat, I promise to serve Ulster County to the best of my ability!

    HAYES: What that guy say, ‘cept as a Conservative Republican!

    Ulster County: ….SEND. HELP.

  2. Steven L. Fornal

    I’m troubled by the lack of coverage of Jack Hayes’ “radical” side. For instance, his Facebook post of 11 February stating:

    “They have all betrayed the public trust. Their sedition has left America without a belief in the “Rule of Law.” If President Trump had not won, we would be ruled by the descendants of the devil. President Trump has been our Archangel. The putrid government before President Trump is wrything (sic) like a serpent in bleach. We must purify and clarify our government of the radical socialist imbedded (sic) in the bureaucracy. We must end the Department of Education and stifle the National Educators’ Association. The Communist indoctrination of our children must end.”

    With that screed is a meme re our intelligence agencies claiming the CIA and FBI conducted an illegal campaign to harass and discredit the President.

    This is Jack Hayes. His ancient, illogical, factless, paranoid way of thinking must not be rewarded with ANY governmental position.

  3. Bruce E. Woych

    Ryan is the real deal. Up on the issues and poised to make a difference where it counts, but a vision that includes stability where it matters. A Green thumb towards the local environment, and a new deal towards the current economic needs of our communities to build a healthy future. He’s clearly the right candidate for this essential
    position, and this trial run will set him up running when he gets the full “go ahead” in the next election.
    We got one right this time!

  4. Jeff Rubin

    Jack Hayes was a very last-second candidate, an arch-Conservative in Republican clothing, dug up by the County Republican party Chair so that the Democratic candidate would not run unopposed. Where was Jack Hayes’ interest in the position all those months and months leading up to this special election?

  5. Further On Up The Road

    According to the tax records, Ryan has neither applied for a Veteran Exemption nor a STAR exemption?
    That is more Marxist than Jack Hayes could ever be.

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