By Matt Youngfrau
SULLIVAN COUNTY October 24, 2003 District 6 includes the central and eastern portions of the Town of Liberty and a western part of the Town of Fallsburg, specifically Hurleyville.
It is currently represented by Republican and Conservative Jodi Goodman. Her opponent is Democrat businessman Kevin Hopkins.
Goodman, a lifelong resident, has plenty of community experience. She grew up in Fallsburg and moved to Liberty. For 20 years, she was the supervisor/merchandise buyer for Sullivan's in Liberty. Currently, she is the Director of Community Services at the Catskill Regional Medical Center in Harris. These experiences have helped her first term as legislator.
"We have had progressive, protective economic development," Goodman commented. "We have to make sure that balance is not just in one area. We have to keep the county safe. When we do things, we cannot sacrifice such things as schools and public safety."
Goodman created and chairs the Sullivan County United Against Prejudice and Building Better Relations with Summer Residents Committee. She also chairs the General Services Committee.
"The committees were created during the Democratic majority rule and they are an educational format," Goodman remarked. "It is why I chair those committees so residents have a place to communicate on such issues."
Goodman was formerly the chair of the Consumer Affairs and Technology Committee. That committee and the position were eliminated or were they?
"Consumer Affairs was not eliminated. It was simply combined with Public Affairs," Goodman stated. "The two blend well together. It is a multi-task office. You have to network with the DA, Cornell Cooperative Extension, the college and many other agencies.
"When the DA came in, he was not complaining there was no one in the position." Goodman continued. "He was there to discuss the volume of calls. We have to create education programs to help the public"
Goodman gave her views on open government.
"I am the voice of the people," Goodman said. "I am very proud of that fact. I do not just speak to the public, I listen. I feel I am the voice of reason. I refuse to get involved in that political nonsense that has taken a lot of our time and not make decisions.
"In the past, many decisions were made in democratic caucus," Goodman continued. "I screamed loud and clear that it had to stop. We represent all the people. My style of government is very different. I am progressive and passionate. I get county-wide calls from concerned citizens."
One major issue facing the legislature is the landfill.
"I find it morally incorrect," stated Goodman. "We have to balance what is morally right and the finances and look at the total picture. Then we have to decide where to go from there."
Goodman and her family stay involved with Liberty ALIVE. Many weekends, they are found cleaning Main Street. She also helped to bring the Empire Zone to Liberty.
"I am known for networking," Goodman said in conclusion. "I make that part of the process. I am a strong advocate for the schools and health programs."
Goodman and her husband, Alan, live in Liberty. They have two children.
"Thank God I'm a country boy," Hopkins says with a smile of pride.
It is that easy-going nature and down-home sense that made him decide to go into politics.
"I am tired of complaining," Hopkins commented. "I want to represent the people of District 6 the way they should be represented. We have growth everywhere but here. We have Sullivan's, Great American, Ames, and Grossinger's sitting empty.
"We need those for much-needed taxes and jobs. We need to make an effort to meet with people and talk about these places. We need to grab [prospective business people] by the arm to look around Liberty and show them what we have. We need clean industry that provides a living wage.
"I am tired of reading about growth in other places," Hopkins went on. "Main Street Liberty has made a turnaround. Rumors abound [about incoming businesses] but results are rare."
Hopkins feels that Consumer Affairs should never have been cut.
"We have to protect the people," Hopkins said. "They should have listened to the DA. It should be open government. I will have an office in the area so my constituents will not have to go to Monticello to voice their concerns. I will always be available and accessible."
Hopkins has been vocal about tax-exempt lands.
"It is sucking the area dry," commented Hopkins. "It raises taxes, and some do not have the ability to pay for it."
Another major issue is the landfill.
"When they bought the land for the expansion, they paid $64,000 an acre. No land in Sullivan County is worth that," Hopkins lamented. "The biggest question is who received that money. We have to tighten the belt and stop wasting money. We need to review the budget and have proper management. After 30 years in business, I know how to spend productively.
"I am against the landfill," Hopkins continued. "Government should not be in the garbage business. It should have been controlled years ago. It is now a monster. It is poor planning. Why is it in the county seat? Isn't that the showplace? It has to go someplace. You don't build your bathroom next to the dining room.
"We need a complete review," Hopkins continued. "We have to wean off importation. The idea would be to close it. We have to move it to a rural area where no one is affected. If possible, we can take the opportunity and set up a recycling business."
Another major issue is casino gaming.
"I am pro-gaming but I am tired of hearing about it," Hopkins stated. "I have been hearing about it since 1972 or before. It is a dangling carrot. We have more to offer. We should concentrate on tourism and development. If it [gaming] happens, fine. But now, it should be put on the back burner. There are current issues to be dealt with."
Hopkins feels if it comes, the county must be prepared.
"It needs to be in a controlled environment," he said. "We should get the lion's share of the benefits. We need clean industry, like a distribution center."
Hopkins shared his vision of the future.
"We need to maintain the county atmosphere we all grew up with," Hopkins concluded. "We are blessed with beauty. We have so much to offer. I want to serve the people. The people are tired of being abused. I care for people, not special interests.
"The average person is tired of seeing government walk all over them," Hopkins continued. "We're all related here. People deserve better."
Hopkins is married to Linda and they live in Liberty.