Hudson Valley Political Elections 2011: Republican Marc Molinaro and Democrat Dan French Campaign for Dutchess County Executive

Poll position: Two young bloods vie for the job of Dutchess County Executive


Democrat Dan French

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It’s an off-year in local elections, but one of the bigger races around the mid-Hudson Valley is the race for Dutchess County executive. William Steinhaus is retiring after 20 years on the job and two young guns are looking to take his place.

Republican Marc Molinaro, now 36, made political headlines when he was elected to the Tivoli Board of Trustees at age 18 — making him the youngest person ever elected to office in New York State. The following year, he was elected mayor of Tivoli, making him the youngest mayor in the United States. He also served in the Dutchess County Legislature for four years before his election to the New York State Assembly from the 103rd District. He and his wife Christy, a registered nurse at Northern Dutchess Hospital, live in Red Hook with their children, Abigail Faith, age seven, and Jack Henry, two.

Democrat Dan French, 30, first ran for Beekman Town Council at age 22. He lost, but tried again and won the following year. He served on the council for five years — the only Democrat on the board — and was elected Beekman Town Supervisor in 2009. He lives in Beekman and has recently become engaged to schoolteacher Melissa Wessels.

HV chatted with both Molinaro and French about the election, the issues facing the county, and what they each enjoy about living in the Valley.


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