Four women will lead the County Democrats this November in the party’s efforts to unseat the County Executive and Clerk. At its convention on June 1, the Dutchess County Democratic Committee unanimously endorsed former County Comptroller Diane Jablonski for Dutchess County Executive. Also endorsed unanimously were City of Poughkeepsie Judge Katherine Moloney for County Court Judge, and former Assistant Attorney General Lisa Ghartey for Family Court Judge. Mary H. Williams, a late entrant, will also be on the Democratic ticket seeking to become the next Dutchess County Clerk.
“I am excited, humbled and energized to be the Dutchess County Democratic nominee for County Executive and to run on a ticket with Kathy Moloney, Lisa Ghartey, Mary Williams and an exceptional set of candidates for Dutchess County Legislature.” said Diane Jablonski. Citing her decades of managerial experience in the private sector with IBM, Jablonski vowed to focus on job creation, creating true partnerships between County and municipal governments, and a fiscal policy not dependent on budgetary gimmicks. “We are proud to have a person of high moral character and one with a background in both private enterprise as well as government, leading our slate,” said County Chairwoman Elisa Sumner.
Moloney, Poughkeepsie’s first woman judge, was praised for her nine years on the bench, with nominators noting that she had been Assistant Corporation Counsel, enforcing Poughkeepsie ordinances, as well as a Public Defender. “We need someone with actual experience as a judge, to decide the kinds of important cases heard in County court,” noted Moloney’s running mate Jablonski, “not just someone who has only seen one side.”
Ghartey served as Assistant Attorney General for 12 years in the Litigation Bureau of the New York State Office of the Attorney General. In 2011, she was appointed Assistant Commissioner, Child Welfare and Community Services of the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), where she still works. At OCFS, the candidate’s main focus has been developing statewide programs designed to improve the lives of New York’s most vulnerable children and families. Most notably, said Dutchess County Democratic Committee chair Elisa Sumner, “Lisa Ghartey has led a coalition comprised of OCFS, Family Courts, and the State Education Department to create strategies to improve K-12 and post-secondary educational outcomes for children in foster care and Juvenile Justice. There is no one in all the County more qualified for this newly created court position.”
Williams, a Hyde Park resident, was a software engineer and programmer at IBM for nearly 30 years, ending as a Senior Manager in the firm’s Personal Computing Division, where she received three Outstanding Technical Achievement Awards. “The Clerk’s office must be more productive and should be an example to other counties in how to increase efficiency,” said Williams, “And I believe I have the technical skills to get the job done.” She has been a volunteer and Board member for over 33 years at Grace Smith House, the nonprofit providing shelter, housing, and support services for victims of domestic violence. Williams has also been a lecturer in computer science at Vassar College and Dutchess Community College said Sumner.
Twenty-two endorsed Democratic candidates for County Legislature were also named. The 20 in attendance stood with Diane Jablonski, Katherine Moloney, and Lisa Ghartey in a show of unity that had the assembly on their feet cheering.
“I am enormously proud of the slate of candidates the Democratic Party is presenting to the people of Dutchess,” stated chairwoman Sumner. “We truly have the most qualified candidates, and a diversity which represents this county. We need to end the one party stranglehold that has gripped this county for far too long and has left us with a present and future of low paying jobs and high taxes. We have the right people, at the right time, to put us back on the right path,” she concluded.