This year we’re giving candidates seeking office in the Finger Lakes the opportunity to let their voices be heard in a special Q&A feature. If you’re a candidate and would like to participate by completing a short Q&A session – click here. Your answers (which can be as long as necessary) will be published directly on FingerLakes1.com.
Terry Featherly is running for Phelps Highway Superintendent. His answers to our questions appear unedited below.
What prompted you to consider a run for office?
“I have been in this position since 2002. I have 39 years of experience in road construction and 35 years as a supervisor. This position requires job experience. I enjoy giving back to my community and I am very thankful to the residents of Phelps for entrusting me to be their Highway Superintendent.”
What are the three most important issues in your race?
“1- Experience. 2- Safety of the traveling public. 3- Fiscal responsibility.”
What roadblocks stand in the way of addressing them? How will you be able to create change?
“Twenty years in this position have taught me that you have to advocate for yourself and your department. I attend advocacy day in Albany every year to fight for an increase in funding for Town roads.”
Holding local office is often a balancing act between keeping taxes low and maintaining services: How do you plan to achieve both?
“1- Submitting a reasonable budget and staying within that budget. 2- Looking for ways to improve efficiency and lower costs. 3- Seeking out available grants. 4- Advocating in Albany for increased funding for roads.”
If you were elected tomorrow and given the ability to permanently change one thing about your community: What would it be?
“Improving the relationship between town administration and the highway department by changing the current tone of our town politics. Working across party lines to get everyone working together so we can best represent all community members.”
As a follow-up: What is one thing your community does right that you’d like to reinforce if elected?
“Communities working together. Our highway department works collaboratively with other town high departments by combining resources on shared services, ultimately saving us money.”
Looking at your community over the next 10-20 years: What do you see? Are the actions being taken now good for the long-term sustainability of it?
“Our town needs to improve on long range planning, not just immediate needs. This will enable us to grow and develop our community to better meet the needs of our residents.”
Rural communities in the Finger Lakes and Upstate New York are getting older. This poses challenges on a number of fronts (whether it be related to services or attracting a younger population for that long-term sustainability). What would you like to see happen to make your community better for aging population, as well as a place for people in their 20s and 30s to call home?
“From the perspective of a highway superintendent, its important to provide safe roads for travel as well as ensuring proper snow removal and salt treatment. I often think about our younger population just learning to drive, and lacking experience driving in bad weather. We have to do our best to make sure the roads are plowed and salted, especially during school hours.”
People want to see change. So, give us the elevator pitch: Why should voters choose you this November? What differentiates you from any other candidate for local office?
“The highway superintendent has an important role. The job is about safety and work experience. It should never be a popularity contest. I bring a wealth of experience to the position, 39 years of road construction experience with 20 years as the Town of Phelps Highway Superintendent. Safety is a priority. I am continually looking for cost effective ways to fix our roads and make them safe. The residents of Phelps know that I am available 24/7, and take my job very seriously.”
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