I am Richard Shea and I am running for reelection as Philipstown Supervisor. For those of you who follow Town government, you probably know I’m a longtime member of the Town Board and I make my living running a small construction company. For those of you who don’t, please let me introduce myself and tell you what I have been doing as an elected official for the past ten years.
I was born in Cold Spring, the son of Patricia Lahey Shea and the late Philip Shea. My five brothers and I attended Our Lady of Loretto School and Haldane High School. I attended the State University at Morrisville and Fredonia State University, where I earned a degree in Natural Resources Conservation. My wife Karen also grew up in Philipstown, our son and two stepchildren all have gone to Haldane.
My career in public service began 26 years ago as the caretaker at Little Stony Point. People couldn’t use the park, because of a failing pedestrian access bridge. I worked with many elected state officials to replace the bridge, which allowed the reopening of our waterfront treasure.
Looking back, that was when my personal interest in the political process was awakened. I say awakened, because my family has a long history of service to Philipstown. My family has lived here for over two hundred years. Sheas and Laheys have served as Supervisors and Judges throughout Philipstown’s history. The work they did in their time helped assure the incredible quality of life that we all enjoy here today. That was a big part of the responsibility I accepted when I was elected to the Town Board and I have taken it seriously every day since.
In the ten years that I have had the privilege of serving the people of Philipstown, I have worked hard to save taxpayers money while providing the highest level of services. In my first year on the Board I conducted a comprehensive review of all Town Insurance policies. The process resulted in a savings of over one million dollars. I reviewed service contracts, looking for redundancies and saved thousands of dollars in testing and water service fees. I took on the job of rebuilding the Garrison Water District and with our highway superintendent Roger Chirico, worked in-house and saved the taxpayers $800,000.
In 2008 I ran the project to replace the aging, inefficient boiler at Town Hall and insulate the attic. This cut our oil usage 45% in one year. I also oversaw the Town Hall roof replacement and painting. All of this was done without spending one dime of taxpayer money. How? I teamed up with our Town Clerk, Tina Merando, to write grants bringing in $250,000.These paid for all work on Town Hall and helped build the new road at our recreation center.
I love this town. Everyone who lives here knows we live in a very special place. Our greatest challenge is to keep it that way. Last year I wrote a grant to conduct groundwater testing and an aquifer study, to ensure the quality of our drinking water. A year before that, I blocked the construction of a blacktop recycling plant through decisive action when it was on the verge of being built. I initiated the purchase of wind power for our municipal electrical use.
All this time, I have had a great mentor in Town Supervisor Bill Mazzuca. I have learned just about everything I know about running a meeting from Bill, and have marveled at how he manages people.
This election is about the future. If I am elected Supervisor I will continue to keep taxes low and keep the quality of life in Philipstown high. I will welcome public discussions on the proposed new zoning bylaws, which will complete a process our community started ten years ago with the Philipstown 2020 project. I will improve our aging building infrastructure and lower energy consumption.
I will do my utmost to ensure the common wealth of this town: clean air and water, safe roads, prosperous businesses and a healthy next generation. The people of Philipstown are our number one asset; together we will protect that asset. Please vote for me in November.