Oct 27, 2011 Ned Campbell Uncategorized
Kevin Holmquist, County Legislator for District 10, is being challenged by Gwyn Mannion in her first run for public office. Holmquist has been endorsed by the Republican, Conservative, Independence and Veterans parties and Mannion has endorsements from the Democrat and Working Family parties. Election day is Nov. 8.
Kevin Holmquist was as a Manlius Village Trustee from 1991 to 2000, a Manlius Town Councilor from 2001 to 2005 and has been County Legislator for District 10 since 2005.
“This experience has been invaluable to our district and has enabled me to fully represent our three villages of Manlius, Minoa and Fayetteville as well as our Town of Manlius,” Holmquist said.
Gwyn Mannion played a major role in planning and building the East Area YMCA in Fayetteville and still serves on the board. She was Fayetteville-Manlius High School STPA President for four years, and her six kids all graduated from F-M High School. She has been a Better Chance board member, she is an active volunteer team leader at the Samaritan Center through Immaculate Conception Church, and she serves on the SUNY Upstate Medical University Council. She is also president of the Museum of Science and Technology Foundation.
“Community service is important to me,” Mannion said. “I have been active in both town of Manlius and county-wide organizations for many years.”
Why are you running for District 10 Legislator?
Holmquist: I am running for re-election to the County Legislature because I love our community and I have the experience to be effective and responsive to the taxpayers. As a 35-year resident of the town of Manlius, I have deep roots in our community. Our great town and our three beautiful villages offer a quality of life that is not available in many other places. I have dedicated myself to public service in our community. I am a graduate of F-M High School, Onondaga Community College and Syracuse University. I have a great collaborative working relationship with our three villages, our town government and both F-M and ESM school districts. I have a record that I am proud of in the County Legislature and I am the best candidate to handle the tremendous challenges that we have ahead. I have been responsive to our community’s needs and have delivered for our district, consistently supporting lower taxes and lower spending.
Mannion: I love our town and feel that local polarized politics are unproductive in solving tough issues. Along with broad community knowledge, I offer intelligence, common sense and an analytical, engineering background to my approach to problem solving. I’m proud that people describe me as a collaborative leader and team player. I want my kids to come back here to live and believe I can be effective in working with people in both our town and county to make Central New York more attractive to them.
What do you feel is the district’s most pressing issue or challenge?
Holmquist: Our biggest issues going forward will be taxes, spending and the budget. New York state government is our biggest problem. State unfunded mandates are unethical. Our county government needs to continue to downsize and get out of businesses that we should never have been in. We need to reduce spending in most areas and continue to privatize services where it makes sense. We need fiscal conservatives in county government. I have made a career in the banking industry. Using that strong financial background, I have a proven track record of working with our county comptroller, my fellow county legislators and our executive department to reduce taxes and spending. We now have the lowest county property tax rate in 51 years, the lowest county property tax levy in 10 years and the highest bond rating in all of upstate New York. We have reduced our county workforce from 5,600 to just over 4,000. We need to do much more.
Mannion: Clearly, finances. Public pensions and Medicaid costs are growing fast and we’re told there is nothing we can do about their mandated, devastating effect on our budget. There are hard decisions ahead, but my opponent’s approach – managing slow decline – is not the way to go. A cut-cut-cut method alone will literally dead-end us. Even though I don’t have answers now, I have tools (I am an engineer) to analyze this situation. There are 62 counties in New York State dealing with the same issues. Why can’t we be the most visionary and creative? Why can’t we be the best?
If elected, what is one aspect of the County Legislature you would seek to improve?
Holmquist: There are many improvements that I have advocated for. Some ideas I have are to schedule more nighttime meetings. Many citizens cannot attend our daytime meetings. I think we should be more accessible and even consider holding committee meetings in our area Towns to be closer to the taxpayers so they can see what we are doing. I also think that we need to move the office of management and budget from the Executive department over to the County Legislature. The County Charter empowers the Legislature with two main responsibilities: budget and policy. It makes sense for us to have the budget department in the Legislature. Finally, I think that citizens should mobilize to elect more fiscal conservatives to the Legislature because we have some significant financial challenges ahead, and we cannot afford to have liberals in office that will continue to tax and spend us out of business.
Mannion: There are two, actually. We need to keep a big picture focus — what a great place this is to live and how to build on our assets such as clean water and easy access. Second, I would improve legislator-constituent communications. Talking with people over time, I am struck by how many know little — if anything — about how our county works, how the town of Manlius fits in the mix and what a legislator does. I would work very hard to listen and to incorporate constituents’ ideas into what I bring to the legislature. Then I would get word out — quickly, broadly.