In 2017, we saw the struggles our senior citizens were having fighting to stay in their homes. The crushing burden of ever-increasing real estate property taxes making continuing home ownership less and less tenable every year. With those seniors in the forefront of our minds, we promised we would not raise their county property taxes over the next 4 years. We have proposed and passed, through County Council, three straight no tax increase budgets and in the coming year we will propose and pass a 4th. We have done this through making wise financial transactions and by cutting the budget by 17% over the last 2 years alone.
In 2017, we heard our citizens talk about sitting in traffic for far too long on 22 with big rigs all around them. Likewise, we heard the stories of being on 78, knuckles white from gripping the steering wheel, praying to just make it home safely. We promised we would battle the uncontrolled growth of warehouses and the multiplying truck traffic by preserving farmland, environmentally sensitive land, and more open space than ever before. We have done just that. We have invested millions in preserving farmland, protecting environmentally sensitive land, and expanding and updating County and municipal parks. The millions we have invested has allowed us to leverage millions more. Northampton County’s future is green."In 2017, mindful of the history that there were those who sought to sell Gracedale or turn it into a corporation, we pledged that Gracedale would continue to be county owned. We did so as it is our moral obligation to provide a safe and secure home for folks who are unfortunately afflicted with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Folks who have no means to afford high quality care. Through this first term, with competence, compassion, and courage we have worked to protect our most vulnerable neighbors.
As I prepare to seek a second term as your County Executive, it is important to state from the outset that, it has been the most difficult test, and greatest honor of my lifetime, to be leading Northampton County through its most turbulent times in over 100 years. The failure of the Federal Government to confront the Covid-19 pandemic immediately and with the full might of the American Government caused a medical and economic devastation that state and local leaders were left to their own devices to confront. But we did not do it alone. In fact, the people of Northampton County lead the fight against Covid-19. They were disciplined and they stayed home. They wore their masks, washed their hands and stayed 6 feet apart. They got tested when they did not feel well, and they did their best to stay away from other people to stop the spread. While our citizens were disciplined and looked out for each other, those on the front line of this pandemic are the true heroes. Nurses, doctors, corrections officers, EMS professionals, folks who work in grocery stores, warehouses and pharmacies took care of us at great personal risk to themselves. Without them, the devastation would be much, much worse.
We confronted the Coronavirus head on. With competence and courage, we have charted a course with you on our minds every day. We swung into action creating our Pandemic Protection Plan that held the twin goals of protecting the public health and helping our small businesses survive and laying the foundation for them to thrive on the other side of the catastrophe. In fact, we have helped more than 750 businesses with over 10 million dollars by throwing them this lifeline. We lead by requiring universal masking and temperature screening in all County facilities. We lead for you by forming Covid-19 testing collaborations, first with Easton Hospital, and now with Coordinated Health. This increased our testing and tracing capacity in Northampton County. This is one of the reasons, despite being affected by 3 of world’s Covid-19 hotspots, Northampton County continues to hold its own against the virus. The pandemic has not passed us yet, and we will continue to fight it for you with all the resources we can bring to bear against it.
Over these next 4 years we will continue to lead for you with the competence and compassion you have come to expect from us. We will continue fighting for a green future and against ever increasing truck traffic by investing millions more in green space preservation, renewable energy projects and energy efficient construction. Northampton County’s future is green.
We will continue to accomplish important work like the completion of the new Forensic Center – more than 30 years in the making. We brought this long overdue project in on time and under budget. We are not perfect, but when we make mistakes, we learn from them. For you, we adapt, we grow. And that is why Northampton County put on the best Presidential Election in the entire Commonwealth – both Primary and General Elections. We did that and we did it during the worst health and economic situation seen since 1918.
Today I am formally announcing my candidacy for a second term as your Northampton County Executive. Mindful of where we have been, and the tragedies and triumphs we have seen together, I will bring all we have learned together into a second term so that we can keep Northampton County moving forward into the future.