Tracey A. Bartels was elected with unanimous support as chair of the Ulster County Legislature this week at the annual organizational meeting.
Bartels, an eight-term legislator who represents Gardiner and Shawangunk, was chosen for the top leadership position for the second time.
In 2019, Bartels became the first woman from the Democratic caucus to serve as the chair of the Ulster County Legislature and only the second woman to lead in the body’s 54-year history. She is also the first chair who is not enrolled in a political party.
Bartels was nominated to the chair position by Legislator Brian Cahill (Towns of Ulster and Kingston, Dist. 4) and seconded by Legislator Laura Petit (Town of Esopus, Dist. 8).
Democratic Majority Leader Jonathan R. Heppner (Towns of Woodstock and Hurley, Dist. 23) said, “I have served with Tracey Bartels for over six years, and I’m excited for the sake of the Legislature, and all of Ulster County, for her to lead the Legislature. Chair Bartels is a dedicated, experienced, and fair leader, and that is why her colleagues gave her unanimous support. I look forward to continuing to work with her and this new Legislature.”
Legislator Cahill states, “I have known Tracey Bartels for more than 15 years. She is open minded, fair, and willing to listen to all sides of a discussion—no matter what your political party affiliation. She has what it takes to lead.”
Democrats re-elected Jonathan R. Heppner (Towns of Woodstock and Hurley, Dist. 23) as Majority Leader and Abe Uchitelle (City of Kingston, Dist. 5) as Deputy Majority Leader—the Deputy role was formerly titled Whip.
Kenneth J. Ronk (Town of Shawangunk, Dist. 13), was re-elected as Minority Leader. The designation of Deputy Minority Leader is expected shortly.
Chair Bartels will lead a 23-member body, including six new members and two former legislators who retook their seats in the last election.
“I thank my colleagues for the honor and privilege to lead the Ulster County Legislature,” said Chair Bartels. “These are unprecedented times. The continued and changing challenges of the COVID 19 pandemic require us to work together to respond to the urgent needs of our constituency. As a county and a nation, we face critical crises in housing, mental health, and climate.”
Chair Bartels adds, “We are called upon to unite, to place the needs of the people first, and to serve. I commit to working together to deliver on our shared goals and a vision for an ever-stronger Ulster County. Together we will deliver transformative change and relief.”