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Meet the Candidate: Bob Cullen

A 2011 file photo showing Bob Cullen (far left) and Elizabeth Hudak (far right), town board incumbents running for reelection.
A 2011 file photo showing Bob Cullen (far left) and Elizabeth Hudak (far right), town board incumbents running for reelection.
Patch reached out to candidates running for positions in and around the area. In Southeast, town board members Robert Cullen and Elizabeth Hudak are up for reelection. Dennis Sant is also running for the board. Cullen, a 46-year-old registered Republican, is running on the Republican and Independence lines.

Here are the questions and replies. 

Patch: Why did you decide to run for election?

Cullen: Four years ago, I decided to run for town board, because I did not like the direction the town was headed under Michael Right's tenure as supervisor.  My first two years on the town board was very difficult, but Roger Gross, Liz Hudak and myself were able to override Supervisor Right's and Councilman [Dwight] Yee's irresponsible decisions. We kept the library funded, and open, maintained essential town services and closed the town landfill safely, without accepting additional toxic materials from another community, within a state-ordered deadline, and avoided very heavy state Department of Conservation fines.  

I am running for reelection because I feel I have done a good job. The town has the lowest tax rate of any town in Putnam County and all essential services remain. The current board under Supervisor Tony Hay works well together and we are getting work done, such as finally getting new wells for Springhouse and Peaceable Hill water districts, updating the employee handbook, and entering into several first-ever agreements with the Village of Brewster to save both communities money. We are building up the town's fund balance, and are now working on resolving outstanding labor contracts with our two unions, while trying to treat our employees fairly, while still being aware of the tough economic times facing our community and taxpayers.    

 

Patch: What personal or professional experiences qualify you to serve?

Cullen: I was a police officer, then was promoted to police sergeant for 21 years in Westchester County. This skill set, as a supervisor and law enforcement officer, gave me experience in municipal government and people skills needed to be a town board member. I currently am a private security consultant/investigator to several companies in New York CIty and the Hudson Valley. I am a member of many organizations such as the Brewster Elks, Knights of Columbus, Fraternal Order of Police, Friends of the Brewster Library, Southeast Museum and Putnam County Land Trust. I am married, and have two children that both attend Henry H. Wells Middle School. I love Southeast, it is a great place to raise a family.    


Patch: What are the top three issues facing residents?

Cullen: Keeping the town under the tax cap, which is very hard to do since many expenses are out of our control, and a lot of expenses, such as employee health insurance, rise more then the current cap of 1.66-percent. 


Patch: Describe your campaign platform or how you differentiate yourself from your opponents' platforms?

Cullen: I feel I have the institutional knowledge and experience, developed over my first term, to continue to steer Southeast in the right direction over the next four years. I have built relationships with the village government, county government and state government, which are assets in working for Southeast.    


Patch: Should you be elected, what would you like to achieve over the course of your term?

Cullen: I would like to see Peaceable and Springhouse water district new wells come online ASAP, so these districts can receive cheaper and cleaner water. The town board is also looking for any grants to help Springhouse with the expense they have for the new wells. The town needs to look at future proposed commercial development, and make sure any projects being planned are in the best interest of the town's residents.               


Patch: Is there anything we haven't asked that you would like the public to know about you or your candidacy?

Cullen: I am looking forward to serving another four years, to work for all residents of Southeast to make Southeast one of the best towns in the Hudson valley, a place we are proud to call home.     

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Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 5. 

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