Last night I attended a birthday celebration for County Executive Mike Hein. I’ve attended this event over the last few years and as a registered member of that illustrious Independence Party (which I joined just to irritate certain unnamed people) and as a person not active in politics (big wink) I am free to attend any event I choose. Since I am a supporter and fan of Mike Hein, a Democrat, I choose to attend this fundraiser.
My guess is about 150 people were in attendance at Wiltwyck Golf Club including some political folks, business people and a good mix of others. I saw a few Ulster County Legislators including Hector Rodriguez, Jeanette Provenzano, Peter Loughran and I have to give credit to Legislator Chris Allen, who introduced himself to me. You may recall that I poked a bit of fun at newcomer Allen following his speech on his first night on the job, but I think he’s figured a few things out since then. We had an interesting conversation nonetheless and he probably got more of an earful from me than he bargained for, but hey, that’s what happens when you start talking politics and government with me.
Susan Zimet, Town of New Paltz Supervisor and primary challenger to Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, was in attendance and I also spotted Sean Eldridge who, for some unknown reason, was not inclined to introduce himself. I saw old friends – yes, I do have friends who are Democrats – and said a few words to many people I haven’t seen in a while.
As anybody in politics knows these events are necessary and some show up just to be seen while others are true supporters. The best part of the evening was something a bit different. A real testament to the County Executive were words spoken by his key staff people including Chief of Staff Adele Reiter, County Attorney Bea Havranek, Deputy County Executive Ken Crannell, and Deputy County Executive Bob Sudlow, each of whom gave a brief speech. While they may have prepared their words in advance, they were their words. We’ve all been to business meetings, conferences and functions where the obligatory pat on the back speeches take place, but this wasn’t that at all. Heartfelt in their respect and admiration for Mike and the work he does, it was refreshing, sincere and great to witness. Bob Sudlow, a man of few words with a dry humor, was especially funny.
It is no accident that a smart, professional group of people are on Mike’s staff working for the betterment of Ulster County. It’s nice to see people who are really passionate about their work and who genuinely respect and admire their boss. Thanks to all of them for all that they do and a very happy birthday to Mike Hein.