Hein: “I love Ulster County”
KINGSTON – Ulster County Executive Michael Hein explained why he’s not running for Congress this year, while speaking Thursday morning at the Ulster County Regional Chamber of Commerce. It’s the same reason he declined to run for Congress two years ago.
“I love Ulster County,” Hein explained, recalling his thoughts on a train ride back from Washington, DC two years ago. “I care very deeply about the people of Ulster County. And I’m going to build a team, that makes Ulster County a model across this entre state, and if we need to, the whole country.”
In 2016, Hein endorsed Zephyr Teachout in the 19th District. She lost to John Faso. This year, six new Democrats are competing for the chance to challenge Faso in November.
“Last month, you had Congressman Faso here” [speaking at the Chamber], Hein said. “He spoke to you about the issues of the day. And I will say one thing about John. He has been able to muster up hundreds of people running against him, I’m not sure what the exact number is.”
Hein recalled being asked by county chairs to run for Congress against Faso during the previous election cycle and deciding against that strategy because the demanding fundraising process compromises his values.
“I can’t fix what happens on the national level, God knows I wish I could,” Hein said. “I can’t even fix what happens on the state level, where you can be a committee chair, and get funded by the very people you are overseeing. But I can do something that will make a difference locally,” Hein noted.
He said he went out and got the best good government groups in the entire state and crafted comprehensive campaign finance reform.
“They wrote it, and we have it, and were going to present it to the legislature, and I’m going to implore them to pass it,” Hein said.
Other topics discussed include the film tax credit; road infrastructure improvements; Family Court moving to Town of Ulster; the new Restorative Justice Center; veteran programs like the Patriots Project; and drug policy reform to combat the opioid epidemic.
Hein speaks at the Chamber every February, shortly after his annual State of the County address, in a speech to local business leaders, which serves as an abbreviated, less formal recap of that longer formal presentation made several weeks earlier.