Wawarsing's supervisor-elect, Republican Ed Jennings, wouldn't say that he was confident going into this past Tuesday's election, but he did feel "comfortable with it." Tuesday's election saw the 77-year old Republican challenger defeat both Democratic incumbent James Dolaway and fellow challenger from the Peoples Party, Michael Walkerwicz with each candidate earning 1265, 1034, 189 votes respectively.
"I did a lot of door-knocking this year, at this time, more than I had in any other election, and I felt pretty comfortable with it. Of course, you can't believe everybody when they tell you they're going to vote for you, but I felt very good about it."
Jennings said that he watched the election returns from the Republican headquarters on Market Street.
"I've gone through quite a few elections, I've lost a couple, and I've won a few, and winning is better than losing, I'll tell you that," laughed Jennings.
As for what he's got planned when he takes office, Jennings didn't hesitate to say that he's going to start by looking at improving the area's economic situation. "It's too beautiful a place to just let it go down the tubes," said Jennings.
"Economic development is certainly going to be on the top of the list," he said. "We've got to do something about getting some jobs, getting some businesses here. We're going to reach out to the whole community to get some help on this one. What I would like to do between now and the first of the year is walk the streets and talk to all the business people and see what their ideas and their thoughts are in improving business in our community."
Jennings mentioned his ten-year stint as an Ulster County Legislator as an asset in tryin g to turn the area's economic fortunes around.
"I'm very familiar with Kingston and the county departments down there, like UCDC [Ulster County Development Corporation]. I'm going to contact them, although they haven't been too kind to us in past years, they're going to have to change and do something for us down here…there's several others down there too that can be of some assistance. And we're going to lean on them a little bit, and we're going to get our legislators a little active."
On the topic of Wal-Mart's possible arrival, Jennings was adamant about the area's need for a store of its kind though he was not sold on the idea of Wal-Mart in particular.
"It could be a Target, or a K-Mart, or a Kohl's. We've got to get something. You can't buy a pair of socks unless you go to Kingston or Middletown. With the price of gas the way it's going, we've got to get something going on here. And I am going to work on that too."
Regarding his immediate plans between now and the time he is sworn in, Jennings said he will be working with James Dolaway during his last days in office in order to familiarize himself with the town's operations, saying, "vacation is not in the plans."
"I talked with James Thursday. He was very, very gracious, and very kind to me, and he said he was going to include me on anything he's doing between now and then. He'll e-mail me, and I joined with them at a meeting Thursday afternoon with the youth commission. He's going to be very helpful, I think, and I'm going to spend some time in town hall, and January 1, I want to hit the ground running and I want to be up to speed."
Ed Jennings will begin his two-year term as town supervisor on Tuesday, January 1, 2008.
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