Lisa Douglas of North Salem, former school board member and founder of the Hudson Valley Patriots, a local Tea Party group, of Bedford, former television news producer and founder and president of WINDTech International, for the Republican line in the race for District 2 in the Westchester County legislature.
Michaelis has been endorsed by the Republican and Conservative parties.
Douglas, 47, is a U.S. Navy Veteran and is a former operations manager for Keyboard Communications. She is a current student at SUNY Albany, where she is studying American History. She also authors online news blogs including the Well Informed Citizen. She is married to Scott Douglas, and mother to five children, Christopher 26, Nicole 25, Stephen 24, Trevor 19, and Taylor, 16.
The winner of Tuesday's primary, faces the incumbent, Peter Harckham of Katonah, in November. District 2 encompasses Bedford, Lewisboro, Mount Kisco, North Salem, Pound Ridge and Somers.
Check back tomorrow for the Patch Q & A with Peter Michaelis.
Patch: What is your definition of a public servant or your philosophy of public service?
Douglas: A public servant is someone, or should be someone, who does what is right and moral. They are above being bought by special interest groups, are innately in tune with their constituents and in the end will vote in favor of what is right and just for all. A public servant makes the tough decisions, puts the right action above all else, never succumbs to political pressure and is all about action not lip service.
Patch: What specific experience - personal or professional - prepares you for the challenges of this elected office?
Douglas: As a U.S. Navy cryptographer, I was trained to see more than what is in front of me, meaning I am able to see the bigger (and potential future) picture. This is an asset especially working within/or planning a budget. Additionally, I am an excellent researcher as evidenced working on the North Salem Board of Education as an elected trustee; serving as both middle-and-high-school Parent Teacher Organization President and the Founder of the Hudson Valley Patriots, where researching allows for fiscal prudency and making smart/cost effective decisions. Currently, I serve on the North Salem Republican Committee and am keenly aware of what District 2 resident needs really are. As a blue collar family, we don’t just say we know what you are going through – we really understand what you are going through because we are living it too.
Patch: What are the top 3 issues you'd like to address as county legislator?
Douglas: 1) Get county government out of the business of being in business. For example, the private company Shred It performs the same service as the county Mobile Shred—shouldn’t we be supporting small businesses and not competing with them? Another example is the One Stop Centers [career center]. There are plenty of private businesses that do this. These are just two examples of duplication of services and how our county government has stepped on the small business owner. We need to end government’s involvement in business and let the private sector do what it does best – create jobs. 2) Stop the wasteful spending. No more money for festivals, special interest groups, and pet projects. 3) Put similar examples as above into place and we hit the target for the third issue: lowering taxes.
Patch: Are you in favor of consolidating county government in any way? How?
Douglas: Everything I have read states that consolidating leads to higher costs due to salaries rising to the levels of the highest paying municipality. That said, I am a firm supporter of local control meaning more control for individual towns and less control from the county. I am not a supporter of consolidating our police, fire, ambulance or highway departments. When there is an emergency residents want and need a quick response.
As an example: We could suggest moving all elections during the year. School budget, fire district and general elections on the same day would be a win/win as more residents would be voting, and less money would individually budgeted for the voting process. We need to be creative, together, across the board to save money.
Patch: Under what circumstances do you feel it would be appropriate for the Board of Legislators to override the new annual tax levy cap?
Douglas: The BOL needs to learn to live within its means just like everyone else. If we lose our job, take a lower paying job—we need to adjust our spending. Essential services aside, if the BOL sticks to what it’s supposed to do and not what they want to do they should be able to live with the 2 percent cap. Speak to some of our seniors – ask them if their Social Security benefits have gone up to match the rising costs of everything else. The answer is no. Fiscal Responsibility needs to be on the brain of all legislators—not the word override. Where there is a will there is a way.
Patch: How would you describe your platform or differentiate yourself from your opponent's platform?
Douglas: My actions match my words all the time every time, my opponent can’t state that. I have no hidden agenda; I owe no one anything; I am not looking to further my political career; and by no means lastly, I am the true Conservative in this race as he [Michaelis] states quite openly he’s a moderate that leans to the left.
Reader-submitted question: Will you refuse stipends and reimbursements to save some tax payer money?
Douglas: On my honor, I will refuse the health insurance; committee stipends; gas/mileage reimbursements; will not take a cell phone/lap top/ or have any taxpayer pay for my additional job responsibilities and/or travel in any way. The salary the taxpayers give for something that is considered a "part-time-job" is already equitable to a full time salary for many. I am not in this for the money—I am in this for true fiscal change.
Eds. note: These responses were edited for clarity and length, not substance.