With Orange County Legislator James Kulisek not running for another term, Newburgh Democratic residents Genesis Ramos and Roger Ramjug have announced they are running for district six.
Who is Ramos?
Ramos was born and raised in the City of Newburgh. She is a bilingual Latina and a first generation American of immigrant parents. She hopes to bring democratic representation in “a legislature with supermajority in the Republican party.” Not only does she hope to bring forth Democratic representation, but she believes in showing representation when it comes to gender, race, ethnicity and more.
“All of that matters,” said Ramos. “We are seeing it more than ever with the most diverse United States Congress we have and a female and minority vice president. The critical need for representation in different ways is there.”
Ramos received her associates degree in human services from SUNY Orange, bachelor’s degree in sociology with a human services concentration from SUNY New Paltz, and a masters degree in public administration from Marist College.
Ramos said she understands the lived experiences of under marginalized groups and communities in lawmaking spaces, which she hopes to alter.
“The more people we have that share the overarching goal of creating equitable outcomes for everyone in a community, the better outcomes we will see,” said Ramos.
Having lived in the City of Newburgh her entire life, she has seen the different communities that make up what the city is. Because of this, she would like to bring a multifaceted approach if elected.
“Regardless of your political affiliation, when you’re an elected official you represent everyone,” said Ramos. “Once you’re in the seat, you represent an entire district and I keep that in mind as well.”
What does she hope to accomplish if elected as
Orange County Legislator?
Passion with a plan. That is Ramos’ slogan for her campaign. Backing that up are her three values: integrity, transparency and purpose.
If elected, she wants to connect the community and reach better outcomes for everyone who resides in the district. The key areas she hopes to focus on are economic development, healthcare and environmental issues.
“We see those playing out in many different ways here in the City and Town of Newburgh,” said Ramos.
For each of the three key issues, Ramos sees them playing out in much larger ways and intersecting with not only each other but other things as well. When it comes to economic development, she wants to look at affordable housing and job creation. For healthcare, she hopes to focus on accessibility and affordability. With environmental issues, she hopes to focus on the issue of Danksammer, clean water and additional green spaces.
She also hopes to focus on the large Latinx community and ensure that things are available in both Spanish and English.
“Access to information is not readily available in Spanish,” said Ramos. “You go to a website and certain municipalities do better jobs at creating accessibility for Spanish speakers. As a county, we need to do more work in every department.”
Ramos believes making information more accessible would go hand in hand with more civic engagement from the Latinx community.
What has she done in the community prior to her
running for legislator?
“The combination of my career and my community involvement definitely set the foundation and the pathway for my passion and strategy,” said Ramos.
Ramos is co-chair of the Economic Development Committee in the City of Newburgh, where she is able to closely analyze and see the critical need for “advocacy and intentional pushes for inclusive economic development on all levels.”
She also sits on the City of Newburgh’s Human Rights Commission where she has done a significant amount of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion work. For the last few months in 2020, Ramos was the City of Newburgh’s Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Consultant.
“When creating legislation I’ll ask is it equitable, is it just, is it inclusive and is it representative,” said Ramos. “These are the things that I will always keep at the forefront regardless of the legislation brought forward.”
Local government participation aside, Ramos is also on the Board of Directors for Safe Harbors of the Hudson. From Safe Harbors, she was able to get a close look into the area’s arts and culture – something she sees great importance in.
“Arts and culture is not just recreation,” said Ramos. “Arts and culture ties into social justice, equity and socioeconomics. Securing funding for things like arts and culture is really important, especially for a city like Newburgh and the town.”
On Sunday, February 7, Ramos held a Zoom event to officially announce her campaign. Nearly 70 individuals attended the event, where Ramos introduced herself and her campaign team, her plans if elected as legislator and allowed community members to ask questions. For more information on Ramos, visit genesisforlegislator.com.
Ramos is running against Town of Newburgh resident Roger Ramjug.
Who is Ramjug?
Ramjug has been a resident of Newburgh for over 50 years. He is a native from Trinidad and Tobago and migrated to the United States in 1969 where he was assigned to the Saint Cabrini Children Home in Highland. He became a foster child to the Prokosch family. Today, he is married with four children and is the Director of Maintenance and Efficiency in the Newburgh Enlarged City School District, which is his alma mater. He is also a United States Air Force Veteran who worked on flight line refueling.
He received his undergraduate degree at the National Labor College in Maryland in labor administration and labor education. He received a masters in public administration. Later on, he earned his second masters in education administration at SUNY New Paltz and recently graduated this month with a CAS in education business administration from SUNY Buffalo.
What does he hope to accomplish if elected as Orange County Legislator?
“It is important because of the dichotomous culture between the Town and City of Newburgh,” said Ramjug on his run for legislator. “I intend to provide representative leadership equally and as passionately to both municipalities.”
One key issue he hopes to address is calling for additional funding from county and state levels for district six.
“I intend to tap into any and all of those resources to help not only provide tax relief and sustainability through the budget process but we also have to look at our infrastructure,” said Ramjug.
He hopes to better the town and city’s infrastructure with paved sidewalks and roadways and creating a “desirable, functional” place to live.
With the more recent removal of Black Lives Matter language from a resolution put in front of the Orange County Legislature, Ramjug said “there is a lack of cultural understanding in the rest of Orange County between representatives in their own communities and the Newburgh community.”
If elected, he wants to help educate his fellow legislators and leaders so “they can fully understand the needs and gifts that our community members bring to the table.”
Additionally, he wants to spur more economic development in Orange County and Newburgh specifically.
“We fix that with sustainable, livable wage jobs,” said Ramjug. “Our transportation infrastructure needs to be looked at so it facilitates getting our community members to those jobs. It’s not rocket science. We need to fill those gaps so someone can feel proud to rent a nice apartment or be able to hopefully purchase their own home someday.”
He hopes to steer community members towards the resources that are already available.
Ramjug sees a huge opportunity for Newburgh that can be tapped into when it comes to the private sector.
“If you had to develop an infrastructure for opportunity in Newburgh, here’s what we have: two major interstates that cross, a passenger railroad that ties into the financial capital of the world in less than one hour, a freight railroad, a waterway, a bridge that goes over that waterway, and an international airport,” said Ramjug. “When you look at all of those tools of moving commerce and creating economic opportunity, I can’t find anywhere we are lacking that those things can’t be further developed to provide our community members with great jobs and promotional employment opportunities.”
What has he done in the community prior to her running for legislator?
Here in Newburgh, he chaired the Town of Newburgh Ethics Board for nearly 10 years and served on the Orange County Ethics Board for three years. He was also the Vice President of the Newburgh Ministry and “led the effort to find funding and create Newburgh’s first emergency housing shelter” in 2005.
“This was one of the most momentous projects I worked on from a moral perspective because it still thrives to this day,” said Ramjug. “It’s close to 20 years of helping people successfully. It’s our own community members who don’t have a place to stay or food to eat. It was a proud moment to fill that gap with a solution.”
He also served as Vice President of Saint Cabrini Home. In his current role at the Newburgh Enlarged City School District he has led the initiative to secure “$257 million in infrastructure development for our schools.”
“That came with a minimal tax impact on our community,” said Ramjug. “It required us to delve deep into our research to find creative areas of funding.”
To learn more about Ramjug, visit his Facebook page.