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September 27, 2019


New Castle

People before Politics

In this edition:
> In the Spotlight: Jim Smith
> Sustainable New Castle
> Upcoming Events
Click here to watch

 “As I've gone door-to-door this summer, I've found that we all have so much in common, all looking for a safe and fun community where we can spend time with family and friends and escape from the drama. We share concerns about everything from roads to property values, and we want our local government to address them.”

— Jim Smith

In the Spotlight - Jim Smith

We love the substantive issues, but we continue here with a re-introduction of each candidate, because who we are as humans is substantive too.  Here is Part 3 by Jim Smith, Candidate for Town Supervisor.

My wife Deb and I lived in New York City for many years as we built our careers.  Neither of us grew up in an urban environment. I grew up in rural Massachusetts and Deb grew up on a dairy farm in Australia; as each of our kids were born we became more anxious to return to a small town with a great public school system that was as rural as possible while still being within commuting distance to the city.  What Town does that sound like?  Our Town. New Castle was the obvious choice. I'm running for Town Supervisor because I want this to remain the obvious choice for others as well, but fear some of the key elements are in jeopardy. 

Frankly, I never thought I'd run for office. I've always found an abundance of ways to give back and prefer to do it without fanfare. I have been a Member and Chairman of a Town Planning Board more than a decade, but never in an elected position.  And my only campaign experience and political work goes back to work on the Clinton-Gore Campaigns and work for Vice President Al Gore in the Clinton Administration.  But as I started focusing on issues in our Town I started to see that I had the experience, expertise, leadership and business skills, and judgement to make a real difference here; to be effective and get things accomplished, not just write plans and talk about them.  

I want to help shape our Town to be the place that you want to live in with your family and call home.  I would always go the extra mile to make sure the decisions impacting your lives and properties would reflect what you want, not what I want.  I take that fiduciary role of a local elected official very seriously.  I've found energy in this long campaign by sitting down with many of you, sometimes on your front porches; and listening.  We have a smart community with a lot to say, even if they do not all show up at meetings or express it on Facebook.  As Town Supervisor that input would continue to energize me.

As our kids grow up in our Town (Piper in 10th grade, Lachlan in 8th, Sully in 6th, and Sawyer in 2nd) I am thrilled to see them form the bonds with their friends, their schools and the four corners of the Town itself.  The one thing I always missed living here was the history and continuity of extended family- I have been inspired by my slate mate and Town Board candidate Sean Maraynes and his long term perspective of our Town. He grew up here with his grandparents and parents and now his own children. I can only hope our family roots take hold like that and I will have the opportunity to watch my grandchildren (one day, but no time soon) at a basketball game or a concert.   

Speaking of inspiring, my slate mate and Town Board candidate Lauren Levin is also someone everyone should have the privilege of working aside. She is more determined than perhaps anyone I know to get things done.  And she does get things done.   

Thank you to everyone who attended an event or opened their doors and this newsletter.  In the remaining month of the campaign I hope we can speak with you again and answer all the questions you have before going to the polls on November 5th. 

See Jim's Bio Here

Join us to celebrate
Team New Castle
Honoring the service of Rob, Lisa & Adam 
Wed, 10/2 at Crabtree Kittle House

Donate to Team New Castle (click here)
Election Day is Tuesday, November 5th
(click below for candidate biographies)

Jim Smith for Town Supervisor
Lauren Levin for Town Councilman
Sean Maraynes for Town Councilman
Jim = Energy
Sustainable New Castle: A Place to Plant your Family

It was good to talk about a “Sustainable New Castle” vision with the Sustainability Advisory Board (SAB) at their monthly meeting on Wednesday.  They are passionate volunteers always looking for new ways to make a difference. And they do.

Voters may not realize, but I’ve had a front row seat in the climate and environmental movement most of my life: earning an undergraduate degree in Environmental Analysis & Policy, working for Vice President Al Gore, and advising governments in all corners of the globe on energy industry reform over the past twenty years.  I’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t; about leadership and change.  I have come to appreciate the urgency, but I also refuse to panic.
I want to use my professional expertise to help New Castle become “Sustainable New Castle: A place to plant your family.”  If done right, we can become a town known for our conservation and sustainability, it can make good economic sense for everyone, and it can even help increase our property values.

Below are some of the ideas we have been talking about and that I discussed with the SAB.
Click for our Sustainable New Castle Vision
And here are a few key areas I'd like to highlight:

(1) Energy Sources: There is a real opportunity to build community solar and now battery storage in our community. Specifically, the idea of parking-covers in the back commuter lot could be a cost-neutral project and offer residents a discount of ~15% on their electricity bills.  That is the type of project, be in in parking or on commercial roofs, we think make economic sense and make our town more sustainable.

(2) Protecting the Local Ecosystem: Our Town's natural areas and open spaces are assets that make New Castle a desirable place to live  These assets need protecting.  Town leadership is needed on issues including mitigation of airplane noise and emissions to protecting sensitive and residential neighborhoods. Resident efforts like the Pollinator Pathway should be supported. And the Town can also host and promote more events with sustainable themes, although certainly, any event that helps bring people to Town to shop local helps

(3) Inspire & Educate our Kids (and Adults): I grew up in a family of outdoorsmen, gardeners and conservationists. Getting outside and engaging in activities such as beekeeping (something my Mother taught me) inspired me for life; and it has already changed my 7 year old (see photo below).  I believe the biggest impact we can have on our world is to get our kids outside and inspire and educate. Our kids are going to solve our problems for us, for sure. We could partner with organizations like Teatown Lake Reservation (a part of New Castle in the west end).  We could create internship opportunities for high school and college students and sponsor competitions that affect change. And the Town could lead by example with its own buildings and property to demonstrate sustainable practices.  

Many of you have asked how you can help our campaign given your busy schedule.

We won't ask you to go door-to-door with us (although it is our favorite part of the campaign). There are many other ways to help. 

Email us to host a lawn sign or just tell your friends about us or have us over for coffee with your neighbors. 

You can also donate to our campaign by clicking here

Learn about the new bi-partisan party, the SAM Party.  We were amongst the first candidates in the state to be nominated by SAM.  Started by disaffected Democrats and Republicans after the 2016 election, SAM is best known for the Governor/Lt. Governor ticket of Stephanie Miner (former head of the NY Democratic Party and Syracuse Mayor) and Michael Volpe (Pelham Mayor).
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