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9/7/2018

Morning Star Candidate Questionnaire

As I’ve been out talking to my neighbors the one thing I hear consistently regarding shared services is people see shared services hand in hand with the current sales tax distribution formula. My neighbors feel the city is being punished under this plan, they’re upset because they feel that the tax increase caused by the current distribution formula has city residents paying more for fewer services.

Name: Peter J. Keenan
Age: 42 Occupation: Stay at Home Father

1) What are the three main issues facing Chemung County in the next year?

As I see it, the three most critical issues facing Chemung County are the city’s financial state and ties to the county, the current job market, and the opioid crisis.

2) If elected, how would you address these issues?

To address the city’s financial state, I want to focus on sales tax redistribution, I want to explore re-assessing the tax-exempt properties in the city of Elmira to begin a P.I.L.O.T. program for tax-exempt institutions who can financially compensate the city and county for services they currently receive for free. I’d focus on using New York State incentives to bring renewable energy manufacturing to our area. Industries such as wind, solar, and biofuel are the future industries that provide long-term stable employment and pay above a living wage. These industries should be the future for jobs in Chemung County. I would like to see the opioid crisis treated as a community health threat. We need easier access to comprehensive long-term treatment. We need to take a serious look at the systemic causes of addiction and treat all aspects of addiction.

3) What are your thoughts on shared services?

As I’ve been out talking to my neighbors the one thing I hear consistently regarding shared services is people see shared services hand in hand with the current sales tax distribution formula. My neighbors feel the city is being punished under this plan, they’re upset because they feel that the tax increase caused by the current distribution formula has city residents paying more for fewer services.

4) What are your thoughts on the county’s current sales tax distribution formula with the city, towns, and villages?

The current sales tax distribution formula needs to be changed. In 2013 the county legislature voted to change the formula and give the county more and municipalities less. The city is the heart of the county, the city has the most churches, the government buildings, libraries, and schools. The city is also home to the most vulnerable populations in the county. It is immoral not to provide the most vulnerable people the services they need to survive. The city of Elmira should not be punished to satisfy the ego of the County Executive.

5) Who do you believe the role of the Chemung County Legislator should be?

Members of the Chemung County Legislature should be accountable and act as advocates for their neighbors, the people who elected them. County Legislators should be required to hold quarterly meetings in their district to meet with constituents. A county legislator should be available and accessible to the people in their district. A legislator should listen to the people in their districts never forgetting who they represent and why they wanted to run for office in the first place.

6) Is there anything you would like to say to voters prior to the election?

The Democratic Primary Election in Chemung County 12th Legislative district in many ways mirrors national level politics. Voters will have a choice between a traditional Democrat and a Progressive Democrat. My opponent and I have families that have lived in the same neighborhood and share the same set of values such as hard work and family. The difference is one of perspective and direction moving forward. After spending 6 months knocking on over 1200 doors in district 12, my neighbors are tired of being treated without respect and are ready to make a change in the mindset of local government. They’re ready to build a renewable energy economy that will provide stable jobs for generations, they’re ready to tackle issues that face our community together, and they want bold progressive leadership from the legislator from District 12.

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