RIT Holds Town Hall for Henrietta Town Supervisor Candidates
by Marco Anthony Rodrigues | published Nov. 6th, 2017
"We need to restore town trust and make government work for the people,” said Steve Schultz, the Democratic candidate for Henrietta Town Supervisor, during a town hall on Oct. 30 in the Fireside Lounge at RIT.
The event on Monday was originally scheduled as a debate between the candidates for town supervisor, Jack Moore (Republican), Jeffrey Kueppers (Independent), and Steve Schultz (Democrat). However, Steve Schultz was the only one to attend, with Kueppers backing out the day of the event.
Steve Schultz is an RIT alumnus who became heavily involved as a student. During his freshman year he was part of the residence halls association. Later on, he also helped write the constitution for Student Government and participated in the committee that created the Ombuds office. Several years later he was a member of RIT’s board of trustees, but has stepped down to avoid any conflicts of interest, since he has announced his campaign for town supervisor in Henrietta.
The Democratic candidate laid out his vision for a more responsive and trustworthy government.
He suggested the introduction of the PawPrints system to the town government. PawPrints is an online petition website which allows RIT’s student government to respond to popular petitions, if it meets a required amount of signatures. Schultz believes this would make government more accessible to everyone, and get more people involved. The town board won’t necessarily act on the petition, but they will take it into consideration.
Schultz has no confidence in the town board’s ability to manage taxpayer dollars. The gymnastics center built by the current administration has had problems with sewage and air conditioning, and was built without any lockers. Schultz claims he is better qualified to handle money responsibly and to oversee construction projects.
“As a startup you’re spending your investor’s money. You learn to do more with less, as a fiduciary you have a responsibility to spend other people’s money wisely,” said Schultz.
He is in favor of expanding the town’s library; however, he has concerns about the costs.
“We’re talking about 10 million dollars of debt if we go ahead and build it. But I will definitely approach Congresswoman Louise Slaughter to see what money is available for that. If it's approved, and I’m elected I will go ahead and build it; however, I’m concerned about the debt.”
He has some experience in construction, when he oversaw the building of the Pictometry (now EagleView) offices in Henrietta. Pictometry is a startup which Schultz worked at — they work on many things including a technology used by police and fire departments to help them locate incidents and to assess situations before they arrive on the scene.
The current administration under Jack Moore also hasn’t been welcoming in their town hall meetings, said Schultz. The town board has repeatedly ignored questions, and created a two-minute time limit for any queries. If Schultz is elected, he’s promised to address all questions fairly and with diligence.
Besides ignoring questions, Moore has made repeatedly racist and sexist comments. He has compared the weight of a desk to “10 dead n*****s” and nicknamed two women “Big Marie” and “Little Marie” based on their cup size. Schultz has promised to take any necessary steps to prevent this type of discrimination from happening under his administration.
Schultz also wants to maintain Henrietta’s heritage as an agricultural and green space, while encouraging development, two goals which are not at odds according to him.
Moore has proposed the rezoning of 1600 acres of farmland into industrial area. Schultz believes this goes against the goals of the town’s founders, who wanted to preserve Henrietta for future generations. Schultz favors stronger ties with the RIT community, which has created many jobs “but the current administration has failed to embrace that opportunity,” according to him. RIT was recently named the lead institute for REMADE, a federal manufacturing initiative that could bring in over $100 million in federal, state and corporate investment, but the current town board has done little to plan ahead and try to keep some of those dollars in Henrietta.
Lee Twyman, from the Ombuds Office, moderated the questions from the audience. Townspeople and RIT students posed questions to the Democratic candidate, with SG President Farid Barquet acting as intermediary for any questions posted online.
The election will be on Nov. 7.
More information on Steve Schultz can be found on his website.
Information on Jack Moore, the Republican Candidate, can be found on his website.
Also, information on Jeffrey Kueppers, Bright Future Political Party Candidate, can be found on his website as well.