The Putnam Examiner

Rolison Seeks State Senate Seat, Takes Part in Forum

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Touting his long public service record, Duchess County Legislature Chairman Rob Rolison told about 60 residents in Putnam Valley last week he was the right candidate to retake the 41st District state Senate seat for the Republican Party.

The seat is currently held by Democrat Terry Gipson.

Rolison was the only candidate to participate in the Candidates Forum sponsored by state Sen. Greg Ball on Dec. 4 at Putnam Valley Veterans if Wars Post 391. He is the son of the late Jay Rolison, who was a state senator for 24 years through 1990.

Rolison, who resides in Poughkeepsie, said he spent years in public service years before he was first elected to the Dutchess County Legislature and becoming chairman in 2010. “I wanted to be a fireman or a cop,” he said. “I wanted to do something in public safety.”

He joined the Comers Fire Company at age 18 and was an active volunteer for 14 years. When he was a student at Marist College, majoring in criminal justice, Rolison said worked part time for the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office and the Hyde Park Police Department. Rolison joined the Poughkeepsie Police Department in 1982, where he was in the patrol division for 12 years and was promoted to detective, which he served as for 14 years before retiring in 2008.

Rolison said he has wanted to serve all residents. “As a police officer you don’t know the political affiliation of the person you’re going to help,” he said.

Rolison said he has won his legislative seat by increasingly large margins. He noted that he won his first term by 48 votes.

Though Rolison said he held conservative views, he has worked with Democrats, who are in the minority in the Legislature. “We included the Democratic side in the discussions. That hadn’t happened before,” he said.

The Republican Party needs a working majority in the state Senate, Rolison said. “We have to have a balance of power in Albany,” he said. “We can’t have one party rule.”

Though the Democrats have more one more seat, the Republicans control the state Senate because four Democrats caucus with the GOP.

During the questions and answer period, some residents said they opposed the Common Core academic standards, saying they were hurting their children. Rolison said there needs to be local control over pubic education and the federal government should not dictate education policy such as the Common Core.

A resident said he wanted to purchase an AR30 with a 30 round magazine, but he could no longer do so because of gun control legislation approved in the state Legislature and signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Rolison is elected he would push for a repeal of the SAFE Act.

Another resident asked Rolison for his views on such issues as Same Sex Marriage and abortion. “I’m pro-life,” Rolison replied. “I believe in traditional marriage.”

Gipson, who was speaking to the Putnam County Legislature the same night said after his presentation it was too early to think about reelection for next year and he was simply focused on the current task at hand the senate.


David Propper contributed to this article

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