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Andrea McKee declares her candidacy

JOHNSBURG Ski Bowl Park Commission Chairwoman Andrea McKee announced Tuesday that she will run for Johnsburg Town Supervisor. I decided to run mostly because I really believe in the two party system, McKee said. As weve seen with Democratic oversight returning to Washington, one-party politics leads to a lack of transparency and accountability. But McKee, a Democrat, stressed that she is not just a name thrown in to fill the Democratic line on the ballot. Im very serious about this and Im very focused, she said. Im in this to win. McKee joins a race in which Town Board Member Sterling Goodspeed, a Republican, has already announced his candidacy. Without opposition, officials are not pushed to do their best, and they never have to answer for their mistakes, McKee said. Thats not the way democracy is supposed to work. McKee said she believes the town needs new eyes looking at the issues facing the town, and new ears listening to the needs of the residents. First and foremost, we need to find out where our taxes are going, she said. The Town is totally broke, were keeping vehicles and building infrastructure together with paper clips and rubber bands, and no one seems to be able to answer the biggest question on everyones mind. Why? McKee said many people have asked where the money is going but she doesnt feel like theyve gotten an answer. There have been millions of dollars in assessed value added to the tax roles, funding for town improvements of any kind are consistently denied, pennies are dutifully pinched, and yet our taxes are rising much higher and faster than any of the surrounding towns McKee said. Why? McKee said part of the problem in understanding the towns finances is that the format of the budget document itself is confusing. You cant make any sense out of numbers when the expense side of a department account is separated by 21 pages from its income, she said. Theres no narrative, no explanation, and virtually no way that a resident can determine what is draining our resources. Why? McKee said shed love the opportunity to look under the hood at how things are managed in the town. Shes concerned, she said, that the town cant have an effective government if because of financial reasons, it has to constantly say no to needed improvements and cost-effective innovations. Looming development in the town is another key issue, she said. We are not prepared to handle the growth we are already experiencing, and we will need to work quickly and efficiently to be ready to manage the extensive development the town has committed us to in the near future, McKee said. Some of the decisions that will be made in the next two years will have far reaching repercussions on our way of life. The town needs proactive, creative leadership to position itself for the challenges it faces in the decade ahead, McKee said. I look forward to healthy debate and constructive conversations with Sterling and interested community members on how we are going to productively manage issues like rising property values, affordable housing, and gentrification, she said. McKee said one approach would be to look at other communities with ski resorts that have experienced the type of growth that faces Johnsburg. The town needs to act rather than react, she said. What we cannot do is wait for the inevitable problems to surface and then try to react as if we didnt see them coming, she said. Contrary to the opinion of some, McKee said, she is not anti-development. McKee grew up outside of Philadelphia in what was at the time the fastest growing county in the country. She said she enjoys the peace and quiet of Johnsburg, her home for the last 23 years. But what I want in my personal life should not determine whats best for the town, she said. I recognize the need for growth and commerce, and would not want to hold any of my neighbors back from pursuing economic development. Because of my background, however, I am very aware that development on this scale requires foresight and planning if it is going to benefit everyone. McKee said she never expected to be running for town supervisor. Yet she said she believes she brings skills to the task that would be an asset at this point in the towns history and she would welcome the opportunity to serve. As a computer consultant for the last 13 years I have become extremely adept at problem solving on many different levels, she said. In computerizing organizations, large and small, we almost invariably identify problems in the underlying manual systems. Constructively attacking root causes is crucial to building a strong foundation moving forward. McKee is an alumnus of Temple University where she majored in Middle Eastern Studies. In her professional career she is a computer systems consultant. She lives with her family in the hamlet of Johnsburg. She has been active in the community and is the Ski Bowl Park Commission, President of the North Country Outreach Center and a member of the Johnsburg United Methodist Church.

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