Your Name: Susan Watson,
I’m running for: Candidate for City Council 2017
I am: I am a challenger for one of two open seats on the Council being vacated by Kirsten Bucci and Julie Killian
What is your political affiliation? I am registered Republican currently, and generally vote Republican, but my political philosophy is Libertarian. I am conservative on economic issues like taxes and spending, and liberal on social issues like immigration and choice.
MyRye.com: Why are you running?
Watson: I’m running for City Council because I want to participate in the leadership of this community. With more than 30 years’ experience in investments and finance, I am a financial expert. The financial experts on City Council are not running for re-election, and there will be a void of expertise on issues like taxes and budget. I want to fill that vacancy. As a senior, I also want to bring a diverse voice to council. Families are the backbone of every strong community, and they are well-represented on City Council, but seniors, empty nesters and singles need representation too.
(PHOTO: All Rye team of Joe Sack, Susan Watson, Elizabeth Parks and Terry McCartney.)
MyRye.com: Why are you running now?
Watson: I’m running in 2017 because I recently retired, and have the time to devote to the extensive responsibilities of a City Council member. Two years ago, I ran County Legislature and developed a new appreciation of how much local issues effect the quality of life every day in Rye. Parking, potholes, public safety and sewers aren’t glamorous issues, but they require continuous oversight and regular investment. I have the management skills and financial expertise to tackle challenging issues.
MyRye.com: What are the three most important issues facing the City of Rye?
- Living within our means. The city’s annual budget is $37 million and our fastest growing expense is employee healthcare and pensions. We need to win concessions from city workers that will stem the growth of these entitlements so they don’t overwhelm our limited resources.
- Infrastructure needs: Parking, sidewalks, sewers, Rye Town and Disbrow Parks all require investment, and we need to prioritize our spending to serve the most residents—and burden the fewest—to provide safe, reliable and efficient infrastructure.
- New sources of revenue: Rye relies on three sources of revenue, taxes, fees and permits, and state funding. Our changing economy is impacting sales taxes, and proposals in Washington to limit the deductibility of state and local taxes will hit high tax states hard. Where can we find additional revenues? User fees, more enterprise funds, transfer taxes?
MyRye.com: Describe your government and civic experience.
Watson: I’ve been a student of national economic and tax policies for more than 20 years, and I support policy groups and think tanks that sway the political conversation. My local political experience is limited, however. I ran for County Legislature in 2015, and learned about County issues then. I am President of the Rye Newcomers Club, and a member of the Rye Y and the League of Women Voters. I was previously a member of the Junior League of Washington.
MyRye.com: What’s one nice thing you can say about your opponents?
Watson: I have great respect for anyone who seeks public office as a volunteer. It demonstrates a selfless commitment to one’s community and an urge to do good.
MyRye.com: What’s your favorite local pizzeria?
Watson: Sunrise, of course.
MyRye.com: What’s your favorite local restaurant for a casual meal with family?
Watson: If I’m eating out in Rye, my first choice is always the Bolognese at Aurora. And it’s best on Tuesdays, when wine is half price.
MyRye.com: How long have you lived in Rye?
Watson: I’ve lived in Rye twice! In the 1990s I was here for 7 years. I was a commuter then, and I travelled a lot for my work, but I always loved coming home to Rye. I was laid off in 2003, and moved away for my next job. When I started contemplating retirement in 2013, I moved back to Rye. I have totally renovated my little house on Central Avenue, and I’m here to stay this time.
MyRye.com: Why did you choose to live in Rye?
Watson: I chose Rye because colleagues I respected lived here. I’m a native of Los Angeles, and have lived in Washington, DC, Connecticut and NYC. Rye is the best of all worlds because of its suburban charm and proximity to the cultural capital of the world.
Your LinkedIn profile: Susan V. Watson
Your Facebook page: Susan V. Watson
Your campaign web site: All Rye 2017