POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- Republican Marc Molinaro was elected to a second four-year term as Dutchess County Executive, according to unofficial returns from the county Board of Elections on Tuesday night.
Molinaro was leading Democrat Diane Jablonski with 63 percent of the nearly 46,000 votes cast. Jablonski, a former Dutchess County comptroller who promised "leadership, not just cheerleading,'' had about 37 percent of the total votes cast, also according to unofficial returns.
Prior to his election as county executive in 2011, Molinaro served as s state assemblyman, county legislator and mayor of Tivoli.
In other countywide races, Republican County Clerk Brad Kendall, who was running for a third four-year term, led Democrat Mary Hannon Williams with about 60 percent of the votes to Williams' 40 percent.
Dutchess County Sheriff Adrian "Butch" Anderson was unopposed as was Dutchess County District Attorney William V. Grady. Both are Republicans. For more details about Grady, read about him in The Poughkeepsie Journal here.
“Dutchess County is struggling,” Jablonski said during one of her fall debates against Molinaro.
Jablonski said residents are moving out of Dutchess County. "Our young people are leaving because they can't get jobs and our older people are leaving because they can't afford to stay," the challenger said during another fall debate.
Molinaro called outward migration "a statewide problem" which his administration is addressing by investing in its cities, towns and villages.
The high cost of living is Albany’s fault, Molinaro added, noting that 70 percent of county expenditures are spent on unfunded mandates. “It is the crisis that’s facing the state of New York,'' Molinaro said. "It’s why property taxes are as high as they are. When Albany doesn’t want to pay the bill, they shift it down to us."
During her campaign, Jablonski argued that Molinaro should have addressed mandate relief when he served in the state Assembly. “He also takes that approach when he takes the sales tax away from the cities and towns of Dutchess, making it harder for them to balance their budget,'' she said.
Molinaro, who last week proposed an annual budget that would cut property taxes, said he closed a $40 million county budget gap, restored the county fund balance and boosted its credit rating. "We will not raise taxes," Molinaro said.
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