With Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell up for reelection this year, Democrat and Kent Supervisor Maureen Fleming confirmed she plans on running against the Republican office holder in what will surely be the marquee race in Putnam in 2018.
Fleming announced her intention to run for the top seat in the county against Odell last week in a press release sent out by the Putnam Democratic Committee. Arguing she’s supported by “Democrats, Republicans, and people of every political stripe,” Fleming touted herself as a “fiscal conservative and strong collaborative leader.”
In the press release announcing Fleming’s run, it pointed out Fleming hasn’t increased taxes in the four years she’s been Kent supervisor and has been able to improve town services while increasing the town’s general fund balance.
“I’ve shown that when we work hard together, we get the job done. I want to bring that kind of cooperation and respect back to County government,” Fleming stated. “Every day, I am mindful that our government belongs to the citizens, not me–down to every pencil and piece of paper in Town Hall. The money government spends is citizens’ money. I’m accountable to them–I am responsible, I am responsive, and I deliver.”
Fleming jumpstarted her political and public service career when she pulled off an upset victory over former Kent supervisor and Republican Kathy Doherty in 2013. Since then, she’s earned reelection twice, once against a challenger that was only on lesser political lines and then she beat Republican and former Kent councilwoman Patricia Madigan last year. She’s been endorsed by the Conservative Party twice in her runs for supervisor.
Democratic Committee chairman Jim Borkowski said, according to the press release, Fleming would return the county executive’s office to the proper roles of government. Democrats are fresh off a countywide win after clinching the sheriff ’s seat.
“She is clear, intelligent, and fiscally responsible,” Borkowski said of Fleming. “She has performed exceptionally as Town of Kent Supervisor.”
In a press release issued the day after Fleming announced, Odell said she welcomed Fleming into the race and looked forward to a “substantive campaign on the issues.” Odell said she was proud of her record as county executive, highlighting key investments made at the Putnam County Golf Course and Tilly Foster Farm. Odell noted her office is pursuing sewer in both Mahopac along Route 6 and in Brewster near Danbury, Ct.
The county tax bill is also the lowest in the entire state, Odell noted, and the county’s been able to reduce long term debt and get rid of all short term debt during her years in office.
Odell, who was grand marshal of the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Mahopac this year, has handled her Democratic opponents for the county executive’s office with relative ease during her previous two runs as the Republican nominated candidate. She topped the late Alan Schneider in 2011 and then she beat former county legislator (and current Putnam Valley Supervisor) Sam Oliverio in 2014.
Both Fleming and Odell avoided sharp and direct criticism of each other with campaign season in the nascent stages. The Democrat and Republican seeminglyhave had a decent relationship since Fleming took office in Kent.
“There is still much more work to be done, but I’m proud to say that Putnam County is heading in the right direction and I’m more excited than ever for our future,” Odell said.