Biographical info (age, address, family, education, employer):
34 years old
Residence: 7719 Ensign Circle, Liverpool
Education: SUNY Cortland, BA political science, 1998; Syracuse University College of Law, Juris Doctor, 2001
Employment: AnCor, Inc., General Counsel
Why are you running for county legislator?
Many of us, myself included, go to work, manage our homes and tend to our families. We only notice the government when we interact with it, but in recent months employment is down, taxes are up, and it is increasingly difficult to support our families. It is no longer okay to leave financial decisions for the county in the hands of elected officials, who either by design or default have become career politicians. In tough economic times, business and family minded people must come to the aid of government, by ensuring that political decisions are not made in a vacuum, but with real world experience and perspectives. Fiscal conservatives like myself have a responsibility to ask “why” when government raises taxes instead of becoming more efficient. This was the role of my predecessor on the county legislature and, with the support of the voters, will be my role in January. In addition, I intend to apply business fundamentals and accountability to the operation of government.
What are the major issues in the second district that you would address, and how would you address them?
I think the people of the second district see the American dream slipping away. For the first time since the founding of our country, my generation believes it will pass on a lower quality of life to our children. Last year, through smart consolidation, the people of the second district and the town of Clay as a whole, realized a property tax decrease. The newspaper has recently reported that those taxes are expected to go back up this year to help balance a budget bloated from state and federal mandates and duplications of services. I have walked through many of the neighborhoods in the district, and what I and my team have heard most is that people want to keep more of there money, to help keep there homes and build wealth. The people are frustrated by the cost of operating government. It ultimately comes down to jobs and housing. They want to be able to find good paying jobs, and to continue to be able to afford to raise their families in this community. These are the things I will fight for when elected.
What are the major issues in the county? How would you address those?
I think the biggest challenge facing Onondaga County, other then the current financial crisis, is a jobs creation. While we still have many manufacturing jobs, we have lost many more. Most recently is the search for a buyer for Crucible. In order to keep young people here, and bring people back to the area, they must be able to find employment. Onondaga County has a highly skilled workforce, fresh water, great recreational facilities, reasonable cost of living, and is a cultural center. These things combined should make it easy to attract new businesses, but the high taxes and red tape give businesses pause. As general counsel for a national design build construction and development firm, I have first hand experience on how difficult it can be to do business in New York opposed to many states throughout this country. Governments must learn that you can not throw good laws after bad. The way to fix a broken regulation is not to leave it on the books and work around it, but to eliminate and replace it. We must market the limited resources of the county to new businesses looking for great locations. We must restore commonsense management of our government and provide a mechanism to cut through the barriers that hold back sensible development for businesses that wish to create jobs in the county.
Why are you the best candidate for the job?
I am the best candidate for the job for all the reasons my opponents will use against me. They will say I have never been elected to an office. That is true. This means I have never voted for a tax increase, I have never missed an opportunity to create jobs and I have never chosen re-election over the needs of my constituents, a trend I intend to maintain once elected. Some of my opponents will say that I have no experience. I am proud to say that I have no experience as a career politician. I do however have real experience creating jobs, managing projects and working in the legal and business community. “Wait and see” reactive politics is no longer what my neighbors want. They want proactive leadership. Both my campaign and my resume is non-traditional, and that is exactly what the second district deserves in a county legislator.
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.