by Jocelyn Jane Cox
Have you noticed? Something exciting is happening in Rockland right now. New political voices are emerging. New people are stepping up to the plate and bringing with them fresh perspectives. One of these people is Rockland County Executive candidate Maureen Porette. This is Porette’s first bid for public office and I must say, this candidacy has truly inspired me.
When I woke up on November 9, 2016, I was devastated, with a good dose of heartbreak, fear, and anger mixed in. I love my country, I consider myself a patriotic person. I go big on the 4th of July, I wave the American flag proudly and celebrate our freedoms. However, the Trump presidency has put so many of our freedoms in jeopardy. This administration is dangerous and foolhardy. It doesn’t even come close to representing my belief system.
Like many of us around the nation, I realized immediately after the election that whatever I was doing wasn’t enough; it was time for me to increase my own civic engagement. I helped start a local activist group that has organized rallies and visited the offices of our local members of Congress to discuss bills. Through events and social media, we’ve tried to share information about federal and local issues. I’m impressed to see so many people who weren’t formerly engaged in politics, speaking out more.
Getting this country back on track is more than any of us can do by ourselves. We need strong committed leaders that embrace democratic values. After the last presidential election, Maureen Porette asked herself how she could make the biggest difference and took on a challenge that few of us are willing to…she decided to run for office.
These are cornerstones of our democracy: our right to vote and our right to run for office. But only a percentage of us actually take either of these actions.
Porette is running on the Democratic, Working Families, and Women’s Equality lines. Her experience qualifies her to lead us to better, more fiscally stable place. She is ready to come up with new solutions to our unique problems in the county budget and rapid overdevelopment. She:
- She is a lawyer. Her career path has taken her from, among other roles, the Legal Aid Society of NYC, to working in the compliance field, attaining expertise in economics and government regulation, to serving as a Domestic Violence Prosecutor at the Rockland County District Attorney’s office.
- Among other non-profits, she has volunteered her services at the Center for Safety and Change, Meals on Wheels, and the Rockland County Pride Center.
- Has lived in Rockland County for over 27 years.
If you haven’t heard “Moe” speak yet, she is genuinely passionate about people, a true advocate for those who are vulnerable in our community. She isn’t someone who just shows up for photo opportunities with local non-profits; she has worked hands-on with several of them. She’s also a parent to a blended family of eight kids, and I think it’s fair to say this gives someone a wealth of knowledge, strength, and patience to draw from for any position of leadership!
Here’s what I admire most about Maureen: she is as disgusted as I am by the corruption at the local level on both sides of the aisle. She isn’t going to be bought. She is not accepting donations from corporations or any special interest groups. For this reason, she has less money than her opponent, but it has all come from individual donations. In my opinion, this is how politics should be. It shouldn’t be the shady money-fest that it has become.
What I’m saying here is that this is a real grassroots effort. People of this county have gathered around Maureen Porette. People are rolling up their sleeves on her behalf. And, yes, I am one of them.
At some point in the last few months, I decided to volunteer for this campaign, in addition to my other activist efforts. In the process, I have learned a lot. For better or worse, I have started to lift up the rock of Rockland County, and I’m not exactly thrilled with what I see underneath.
My husband and I have lived all over the United States but we settled in Rockland eight years ago because of the beautiful green space, access to nature and New York City, and the diversity of people and perspectives here. We are glad to be raising our young son alongside people from all over the world.
But I’ve learned things about recent developments in the county that concern me. And I’ve seen that our current county executive has not successfully dealt with these social and financial issues. His methods have centered mostly around fomenting hatred and using scare tactics without providing and implementing viable solutions. His style of leading is divisive in a way that is all too similar to what is going on in Washington D.C. right now.
Besides, I watched with disgust as incumbent Rockland County Executive Ed Day lied about being endorsed by my own third party, the Working Families Party, right before the primary. I received flyers in the mail in which he made claims that were simply…false.
I have also met wonderful, capable, and enthusiastic people of all ages who have the potential to make changes in this county, this state, and in this country. The work they are doing and the ideas they generating are reverberating through a new thread in this community, and I believe this reverberation will continue well into the future. I believe there is a way to lead with LOVE, with open minds, and open hearts. It can happen here, and we can do it together with Maureen Porette at the helm.
On November 7, I will be casting my vote for Maureen Porette for Rockland County Executive. I will be doing so filled with hope for the community I am proud to call home. Will you join me?