Annual Festive Tea and Champagne Reception May 14 at Kenyon House

Join our annual festive tea and champagne reception to celebrate women making a difference in the political sphere and to raise funds to support our local candidates. This year, the event will be held on Saturday May 14 from 3 to 5 pm at the historic Kenyon House on the grounds of the Poughkeepsie Day School.

Our guest speaker will be Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause New York, a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. Common Cause recently issued a press release in support of our principled opposition to the $192 million Jail Bond.

We will be honoring Diane Jablonski with the Lucille Pattison Woman of the Year Award. Diane served as Dutchess County Comptroller from 2006 to 2009, the first woman and the first Democrat to hold that office in Dutchess County. She was the Democratic candidate for County Executive in 2015, waging a spirited campaign against a powerful incumbent. She is the leading force behind the Criminal Justice Task Force.

We hope to see you on May 14th for an afternoon of passionate political discussion over excellent food and libations.

Click here to purchase tickets online
or mail a check to DDWC, PO Box 5284, Poughkeepsie, NY 12602
or pay at the door on the day of the event.

Directions: Situated on 35 wooded acres in the Town of Poughkeepsie, the address of the Poughkeepsie Day School is 260 Boardman Road, which is off Spackenkill Road and can be reached, using either Route 9 or Route 376.

Say NO on the Jail Bond Resolution

Say NO on the Jail Bond Resolution

Dutchess County has an unprecedented opportunity to “change what a county jail is and how a criminal justice system addresses its inmates.”

We will squander that opportunity if we go forward with the current jail bond proposal.

We need a new fiscally responsible plan

County officials assert that if legislators do not approve the plan on March 21 exactly as unveiled on February 4, the State Commission of Corrections (SCOC) will revoke our variance for the PODs and throw the County into financial chaos. This makes no sense. This date needs to be extended to allow the public and legislature adequate time to review alternative plans. Let’s build what we need, not an over-capacity compound.

Say No to the Jail

The Dutchess Democratic Women’s Caucus Opposes the Current Jail Bond

Statement by Mary Hannon Williams, DDWC President

Dutchess County has an unprecedented opportunity to “change what a county jail is and how a criminal justice system addresses its inmates.” The bond plan submitted to the legislature on Thursday February 4 is the most expensive and least effective way to seize that opportunity. The proposed plan, at an estimated cost of $192 million, would be the largest capital project ever undertaken by the County and would almost triple our outstanding debt to over $1000 per resident.

County officials assert that the annual debt service cost of $9.9 million would be offset by cost avoidance of $13.6 million and would thus save $5.3 million annually. The savings start in 2021. This assertion is based on questionable assumptions that should be carefully vetted by an independent citizen review.

Why is the plan assuming that the number of inmates will increase? In 2015, the average inmate population as shown in the County presentation was 441, down from 474 in 2014. The current jail bond is for 569 beds. Nationwide, the trend is towards lower rates of incarceration.

From 2005 to 2014, the Dutchess County inmate population increased 43.4%, more than any surrounding county ( To address this alarming increase, Dutchess County began several alternatives to incarceration (ATI) programs. Much more can be done to decrease our inmate population.

Why is the first phase of the plan a new sheriff’s office? At $36.5 million, this is almost 20% of the total bond cost and does not address the primary problem of inadequate jail facilities. Jail completion is scheduled for April 2020, two years after the completion of the sheriff’s new office.

Why do we have less than 7 weeks to review the extensive materials that support this proposal? February 4 was the first time legislators received the plan and they are expected to vote on March 21. The public was not allowed to ask questions on February 4; instead we need to return on Tuesday February 16 for the External Advisory Committee meeting.

Why is there no alternative to financial chaos? County officials assert that if legislators do not approve the plan exactly as presented on February 4, the State Commission of Corrections (SCOC) will revoke our variance for the temporary modular facility used for housing inmates (PODs) and we will be forced to move our inmates to other jails.

Let’s be clear about the role of the County versus the SCOC. In return for giving the County the variance, the County agreed to construct new permanent correctional space. The current plan includes much more than is needed to honor that commitment.

The SCOC is not asking for a new sheriff’s office or a 36 bed hospital wing with its associated costs and liabilities. The SCOC is not dictating 569 beds; the County decides on the number needed and justifies it to the SCOC.

County officials are promising that we need not worry, trust us, all will be well.

To those concerned about the size of the jail: County officials assert that they can cancel construction of one area and “decommission” another area for other uses. The cost of “decommissioning” is not detailed.

To those concerned that we have not included funding for the services and programs needed to reduce incarceration: County officials assert that we will receive grants as we will be acclaimed a leader in criminal justice reform. Failing that, we can use part of the promised $5.3 million surplus starting in 2021.

Let’s forgo promises and focus on commitments.

Let’s build what we need, not 20% to 35% more. Let’s fund the services and programs we need now to keep people out of jail, not in 2021 after we build an overcapacity compound.

We need a new fiscally responsible alternative plan. Legislators should vote NO on this plan.

Annual Meeting 2016 – new date – JANUARY 30TH 1PM

****Due to inclement weather today 1/23 the meeting will be held on the snow date*****

When: Saturday January 30 LaGrange Town Hall 1 to 3pm

Zephyr Teachout
Zephyr Teachout

This is a great opportunity to network with other Democratic activists and plan for the exciting year ahead: presidential, congressional, and NYS senate and assembly elections.

We will be joined by DDWC member and Dutchess County resident Zephyr Teachout who has a home in Dover Plains. Zephyr was a Democratic candidate for New York State governor in 2014 who won Dutchess County in the primary.
Light refreshments will be served.
The snow date (it could happen despite El; Nino!) is January 30 at the same time (1 to 3pm) and place.
The town hall address is 120 Stringham Road, LaGrangeville, NY 12540. Stringham Road is off the traffic circle on Route 55 just west of the Taconic Parkway. The town hall is on your left about .75 miles from the traffic circle.
There will be a business meeting to review the financial report for 2015 and approve the proposed budget for 2016; to hear reports on the Criminal Justice (aka Dutchess County Jail) Task Force, the 2016 goals of the County Democratic committee and the 2016 County legislative priorities.
There is only one opening on the DDWC executive committee and the nominating committee recommends that we approve Jasmin Vasquez for a three year term. She had previously been appointed for a one year term for 2015. The business meeting will be followed by an optional viewing and discussion of a PBS documentary on Women in Politics.
Membership dues for 2016 are to be paid in January. You can join online or pay at the annual meeting or mail a check payable to DDWC to PO Box 5284, Poughkeepsie NY 12602,  These are the membership levels that help support our candidates. Please give as generously as you can.

Eleanor Roosevelt – $300       Regular – $25
Sojourner Truth – $200           College – $15
Susan B. Anthony – $100       Junior (under 18) – $5
The Dutchess Democratic Women’s Caucus is an independent grassroots organization dedicated to bringing more women into the political process and electing Democratic women to public office at every level in Dutchess County. Since our founding in 2004, we have helped over 200 women seek public office by providing volunteer support, campaign workshops, and financial support. We welcome as members all registered Democrats.
Check out our web site at

DDWC Endorsements/Funding and Campaign Workshops for 2015

What an exciting time for Democratic women in Dutchess County!

Four highly qualified women are leading the 2015 slate running for county wide offices. And for County Legislature, Democratic women have stepped up to the challenge of taking back control of the legislature. And at the city and town and village level, many women are seeking public office.

The Dutchess Democratic Women’s Caucus expects to award over $20,000 for 2015 campaign grants and for the critical Get Out The Vote effort. We invite all women Democrats running for any political office in Dutchess County to apply for funding and endorsement. The application is attached and also available for download from our web site  It is due by August 31 but we do not make decisions about endorsement and funding until after the primary election.

In addition to endorsement and funding, the DDWC will host a series of informal campaign workshops for women candidates seeking the Democratic line and their teams. We plan to hold three sessions this summer: July 16, July 30, and  August 13.  All the sessions will be in Poughkeepsie on Thursday evenings from 5:30pm to 8pm. We provide a light supper.  An overview of the sessions is attached. We will send details on the location and a more detailed agenda a few weeks before each session.

Our training sessions offer a unique opportunity to meet other women candidates from around the county and talk with women who have been through a campaign. Several women who have run for office or participated in campaigns will attend the sessions and share their experiences and lessons learned. You don’t need to attend the campaign sessions or be a member of the DDWC to receive funding and endorsement. But why miss out on the opportunity for information, sharing, and coordination? Not to mention a nice healthy supper!

Our current list of women candidates and the offices they are seeking is attached.  If you see someone missing from this list, please forward this email to the candidate and also let us know so we can update the list and ensure that all Democratic women running in the 2015 elections have access to DDWC funding and training.

In the words of Dr. Suess:

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

Thank you for running! It is time for a change for the better!

Mary Hannon Williams, President DDWC

DDWC endorsement and funding application

DDWC Campaign Workshops 2015

You’re invited to the Annual Spring Event

When: Saturday, May 9, 2015 at 3pm to 5pm

Where: The Kenyon House at the Poughkeepsie Day School, Boardman Road, Poughkeepsie, NY

Our guest speaker will be State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the New York State Senate Democratic Leader.  Senator Stewart-Cousins is a strong advocate for human rights; quality education; accessible and affordable health care; and making government more efficient, transparent and accountable to all citizens.  We know that you will find her talk inspiring.

Andrea Stewart-Cousins

We will also be honoring Barbara Jeter-Jackson who represents the city of Poughkeepsie in the Dutchess County Legislature where she serves as Minority Leader.  The DDWC is proud to award Barbara the Lucille Pattison Woman of the Year Award for her continued public service.


Benefit committee members sought at: $500 Co-Chair, $250 Benefactor, $125 Advocate.

Invitations are coming soon.  Tickets on sale now: Guests $65 pp, DDWC members $50 pp.  Please RSVP by 5/2/15

Checks can be mailed to the DDWC at P.O. Box 5284, Poughkeepsie, NY 12602 or pay on Act Blue and enter “Spring Event” in the memo.



Annual Meeting 2015

The DDWC will hold its annual meeting on Saturday, January 31, 2015 at 1-3pm at the Lagrange Town Hall, 120 Stringham Road, Lagrangeville, NY 12540

Our guest Speaker is Brette McSweeney, Executive Director of Elenor’s Legacy.

There will be a short business meeting and a vote on the slate of officers for 2015.

Snow date February 7, 2015 same place and time.