Bartels wants another term as Ulster County Legislature chair

Tracey Bartels (photo by Phyllis McCabe)

Tracey Bartels said last week that she intends to run a second term as chair of the Ulster County Legislature.

Bartels, who’s not registered with a political party but caucuses with the Democrats, wrote in an email Friday, “I do intend to seek reelection as Chair of the Legislature.”

The Gardiner resident was the second woman and the first unaffiliated legislator to chair the body when she won the position last January.


“I support her, I supported her last time,” said Legislator Dave Donaldson (D-Kingston) on Monday. “I served as a vice-chair and we had a lot of issues last year that were out of the ordinary — we had a county executive leave, a comptroller leave and a [legislator] die … we also had another one [censured] for sexual harassment. I think she keeps a cool mind about herself and she handled [those incidents] as well as could be done. Hindsight is always 20/20. Could she have done something better? Possibly, but she did what she could.”

Donaldson said that many legislators this year were “bombastic” at times, and that he hopes for a “mellower” body in 2020, so that needed legislation surrounding bail reform, restorative justice and tenants’ rights can be addressed.

Other legislators were tight-lipped about their prospects for the position.

“The decision is still up in the air, and I’m not prepared to talk about it just yet,” said Shawangunk Legislator Ken Ronk in an email on Jan. 3. Ronk, a Republican, chaired the body previous to Bartels’ election last year and is currently legislature minority leader.

Speaking under the condition of anonymity, sources close to the legislature speculated that Republicans may offer up Ronk or Legislator Heidi Haynes (R-Hurley/Marbletown).

The decision is set to be made on Wednesday, Jan. 8 at the legislature’s reorganizational meeting.