I grew up in Red Hook and graduated from Red Hook High School. This gave me great appreciation for the freedom one can enjoy in small-town America and the great natural beauty of the Hudson valley.
I am a West Point graduate who earned a Bronze Star and Combat Action Badge while serving in Iraq, and was recognized by my battalion commander as the “best (intelligence officer) (he has) seen operate in a combat environment.”
I have been married to my wife, Lenissa, for 11 years and we have three children. I see families as being the building blocks of our communities and state.
What experience and/or training has prepared you to serve in the position you seek?
My military training, combined with my time on the Milan Town Board and my businesses experience, makes me the best candidate to represent our region in the New York state Assembly. At West Point, I learned a great deal about leadership, courage, and integrity–three things that we need more of in Albany. While serving in the Army, I had to practice leadership in a combat environment.
On the Milan town board, I worked with people from both parties to balance our town budget in a very difficult fiscal environment. The ability to work with people from all backgrounds and parties is very important and something I have always been able to do. I also had to make tough decisions to reduce our town’s operating expenses and worked with volunteers to build and maintain a town trail and improve the rec park at no taxpayers’ expense.
Finally, as a small businessman, I understand the challenges facing our local companies. In Albany, I will lead the fight to reduce the regulations and tax burdens that have made New York State the most unattractive and inhospitable place to own and operate a business. Small businesses provide local, high quality jobs and I hope to help New York improve its “worst in America” business climate rating.
Local property taxes (school taxes) are a constant source of complaint, especially in the towns of Red Hook, Rhinebeck and Milan. How do you propose we go about reducing/reforming property taxes in NY?
Dutchess County residents pay some of the highest property taxes in the nation—42nd out of the 1,833 counties ranked by the Tax Foundation.
To reduce these burdensome taxes and make our region a more affordable place to live, I would work to fully implement the last two steps of a three-phase plan for tax relief in New York State.
Step 1: Cap property tax growth (already complete).
Step 2: Reduce and eventually eliminate unfunded mandates on school districts and local governments.
Step 3: I would require the state to pay for all optional Medicaid programs.
Would you support/sponsor legislation to restrict access to or ban abortion in New York?
I believe in protecting the lives of those who cannot defend themselves. The most important problem facing us is ensuring that young people are prepared to be responsible parents when they create life. As a pro-life legislator, I would work with other pro-life and pro-choice legislators to reduce the number of abortions in New York State. The best way to do this is through education and teenage pregnancy prevention. I would also work to reduce the number of taxpayer-funded abortions in the state and ban late term abortions.
Would you support/sponsor legislation that would enable patients to legally obtain
physician-prescribed marijuana for treatment of pain without criminal penalties?
I would oppose medical marijuana, as I feel it would open the door to large-scale taxpayer-funded drug abuse. The state already fails to adequately protect taxpayer Medicaid dollars and I feel medical marijuana would only increase the existing $5 billion in annual waste, fraud and abuse in the state’s Medicaid system.
What other issues do you see facing our state or the 106th assembly district — and your solution?
According to the 2010 census, New York suffered a 1.5 million net loss in domestic migration—the most in America during that time period. Regardless of what our politicians in Albany say, New York is not living up to its potential and people are looking at other options for lower taxes and better job markets.
We must reduce costly regulations and excessive taxes on job creators and individuals. By improving our overall business and tax climate, the Empire State will create long-term employment opportunities that will get New Yorkers back to work and help restore their confidence in our economy. A better business climate will lay the foundation for a more robust economy that will provide jobs for current and future generations of New Yorkers.
To help prevent corruption and an individual’s ability to consolidate power over decades, I also support imposing a four-year term limit on the leadership of the New York State Assembly and Senate, and all members of the Assembly and Senate should be limited to four two-year terms.
Why should voters pick you on Election Day?
What we do as communities and as a state matters and will make a difference for our children and our children’s children.
I have the leadership and businesses experience needed to be a strong advocate for Hudson Valley families and businesses in the Assembly. I am a local who understands both the pressures that local taxpayers feel and the issues facing our region, and I will work tirelessly in Albany to ensure that our voices are heard.
I also have the courage and integrity to stand up to the Albany political bosses and their special-interest allies and fight for the future prosperity of our children—something worth fighting for.
Byrne may be contacted at 845-233-4881, via mail at PO Box 695, Red Hook, NY 12571 and online at www.dave4ny.com.