New York State Assemblymember Didi Barrett recently completed her first year in office. The Democrat, who represents a section of the Hudson Valley, spoke with WAMC’s Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Allison Dunne about what she has accomplished so far and what is yet to come.
Barrett represents the 106th Assembly District, which includes portions of Columbia and Dutchess Counties.
She says she has been working on educating her colleagues about the Hudson Valley.
Barrett was elected in March 2012, during a special election to succeed Republican Marc Molinaro, the current Dutchess County executive.
She says she has long advocated for women and girls, and supports Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Initiative. In fact, she is a founder of two non-profit organizations to empower young women, the Dutchess Girls Collaborative, and Girls Inc. in New York City.
The leaders at the moment, she says, need to help usher in change to ethics and campaign finance laws, recently spotlighted because of a political corruption scandal that ensnared several elected officials, including former Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith.
Asked to expand on these potential problems, Barrett says:
Barrett says she prefers to spend most of her time in her district. She has a Diner Stop Mobile District office, and has made 11 diner stops since January. She points out that her district is 70 miles from north to south, and runs from the Hudson River to the Connecticut border, so the diner stops are a more convenient way for residents to speak with her.
There are several farms in Barrett’s district, and preserving farms and tying farms into the region’s economic development are her goals. She says she would like to see a food hub established in the eastern part of the Hudson Valley. There is one on the other side of the Hudson River, in Kingston.
Barrett, a Democrat, represents the 106th Assembly District, which includes portions of Columbia and Dutchess Counties.