Recently Ann Marie filled out a BallotPedia questionnaire, it was very extensive. Since many people are not familiar with ballotpedia, we decided to bring those questions over to our website. We hope you find her answers insightful into her philosophy and help to aid you in deciding to support her.
Who are you? Tell us about yourself in 200 words or less.
Local Businesswomen / Farmer who supports Personal Freedom, Reduced Government Regulations, and Constitutional Rights running for NYS Assembly in the 131st District.
Please list below 3 key messages of your campaign.
- Restore Liberty by stopping Executive Dictatorial Rule
- Rebuild our local economy for Small Business, Agriculture, and Tourism
- Return to the Constitution by protecting ALL our unalienable rights
What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?
Personal Liberty. We must maintain the God given rights we have to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It does not say the guarantee of happiness. Government is NOT our parent, we have personal responsibility for our actions and should act accordingly, but with that personal responsibility we have the freedom to live our lives as we choose to. These rights have been outlined in the Constitution.
The government should not be telling us if the work we do is essential or not. It should not be oppressively taxing us, which currently it does without representation, since the Executive branch has taken over full control. Finally, it should not be locking us in our homes, telling us who we can or can’t assemble with, and threatening us to take mandatory vaccines. These decisions should be made by ourselves, informed, educated, and only by our consent. We choose how to raise our families, we choose how to live our lives, and as your representative I will make sure that your voice is heard above all others.
We the People means just that, the people control government, not the other way around. It is not we the Sheeple. When the people work together America can do amazing things. It does not matter their race, creed, or political affiliation. Every American wants to build a better future for themselves and their children. I have worked successfully with downstate legislators in the past, as a volunteer, and will continue to do so as your full-time representative.
Are you currently the officeholder in this race seeking re-election?
Is this your first time running for office?
No, ran for town clerk, but dropped out of the race after current town clerk changed their mind about retiring.
What is your campaign slogan?
A Hard Working Woman, Working for You
What was your very first job? How long did you have it?
My first job was working for Emkay Candles in the industrial engineering department as a teenager during the school breaks. The purpose of the department was efficiency, how to do things better, faster, and effectively while doing more with less. This experience has carried over into all of the positions that I have held later in life, including as a chemist, teacher, professional trainer, and eventually my career as a farmer.
One cannot be successful in farming without knowing how to be efficient, resourceful, and most importantly, doing more with less. These key qualities will be extremely helpful in my role as a representative for the 131st District in the NYS Assembly.
What is the first historical event that happened in your lifetime that you remember? How old were you at the time?
Armstrong descending Eagle’s lander and touching his left foot upon the surface at 10:56 p.m. EDT July 20, 1969 (0256 GMT July 21). His first words were, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” I was 3 years old. That was quickly followed by Woodstock, August 15–18, 1969, and the NYS Thruway being shut down.
While I was extremely young, my grandparents reinforced those events and probably caused both my interest in science and my knowledge that anything is possible if enough people put their mind to do something amazing.
Who do you look up to? Whose example would you like to follow, and why?
Ronald Reagan. As the 40th President of the United States, Mr. Reagan stood out for his ability to communicate with people across both sides of the aisle, promote conservative values, and restore the American dream and prosperity to the nation.
Not being a politician, he was able to take his first political office as Governor of California while the state was primarily Democratic, and despite a recall attempt a year later was re-elected to a second term.
His ability to not only communicate with everyone, but even to get life-long democrats to not only support him, but also get some to switch parties in order to do so (Congressmen Eugene Atkinson is one example) was an ability that I have strove for in my prior lobbying efforts.
There are several quotes of President Reagan that quantify my values. Three examples would be:
“There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn’t mind who gets the credit.”
“Government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem.”
“We in government should learn to look at our country with the eyes of the entrepreneur, seeing possibilities where others see only problems.”
His leadership was tremendous, his accomplishments are still felt today, and he is one of the main reasons why the cold war ended and new possibilities of peace arose. As mentioned before, it was his ability to communicate that made all of this happen and, in my mind, is one of the key elements that a successful representative much possess.
Every state besides Nebraska has two legislative chambers. What do you consider the most important differences between the legislative chambers in your state?
Unfortunately, there is no difference in our state. Both chambers are held by the Democratic party and have become a rubber stamp for the Governors dictates, when he chooses to ask them their opinion, which is not often.
The purpose of the two houses are to provide wider local representation at the Assembly level, while the Senate, due to its constructs, tends to have a more regional view. Thus we normally would see legislation proposed by the Assembly that may only have a local interest immediately, but their ability to present these items allows the Assembly to discuss them and then pass them along to the Senate. The Senate can then, if working properly, evaluate the the worthiness of the proposed legislation from a regional standpoint and move forward if a consensus exists.
These differences exist to provide the opportunity for local views to be heard while still being evaluated on a more statewide basis.
It would be nice to see proper debate, regardless of political affiliation return to the legislative chambers of our state. It is my hope to promote such debate, whether in the minority or the majority party, because communication is the key to successful legislation that works for all New Yorker’s, not just a few.
Do you believe that it’s beneficial for state legislators to have previous experience in government or politics?
No, I believe that the exact opposite is true. Too many of our legislators have made life long careers out of a position that was supposed to be a part time public service. They have forgotten what the average individual must go through in order to survive day-to-day life. They also tend to forget, if they ever even notice, the consequences of their legislation on the public.
We have had enough lawyers and politicians. The government was never meant to become it’s own employment class, but rather a cross section of all classes. We need more shop-keeps, truckers, farmers, and tradesman in office.
The plumber will understand that sh*t rolls downhill before they put up another unfunded mandate; the carpenter will know that we cannot build a budget based on a poor foundation; and the farmer will know how to do it more efficiently and more importantly, how to make things work when the resources are limited. A lawyer will only know how to complicate the procedure and a politician will know how to make something sound good that isn’t.
We need statesmen (and women), not career politicians. We need people who care about their constituents and are willing to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do, not because it will get them re-elected. We need people looking to do their service for their community, and then return to their prior life, much like most of our military heroes have done for centuries. We need shop-keeps, tradesmen, and truckers; and we really need a farmer.
What do you perceive to be your state’s greatest challenges over the next decade?
The out-migration of people from the state. New York has become a place to come from, not a destination to go to. Since 2010, New York has lost 1.4 million residents. These former residents have an average income of over $90,000 and while many are heading to Florida and other destinations south, 20% have just crossed the state line into New Jersey or Pennsylvania.
The Governor is wrong thinking that people are leaving for the weather, as a former presidential campaign once said, “It’s the Economy Stupid”; and the taxes affect the economy.
Our biggest challenge will be to reduce the tax burden upon all New Yorker’s, remove as many regulations as possible on all business, both great and small, and restore a sense of pride in being from New York. We have one of the most picturesque states in the nation, with beautiful farm land, tremendous resources, and one of the smartest labor forces anywhere.
However we continue to dumb down our schools through programs like “Common Core”, out price seniors with property taxes, and limit opportunities to our youth. We need to bring back manufacturing, support local supply chains, and enhance business opportunities throughout the state.
My goal as representative will be to make sure that Upstate NY has a voice, while working with the concerns of Downstate. Working together, using all of our resources we can turn this ship around, and it must be turned around, otherwise we will be heading over the Niagara. The decent will be quick, the fall will be gut wrenching, and the landing disastrous.
What do you believe is the ideal relationship between the governor and the state legislature?
The Constitution, both the Federal and the State, say it best. We have three branches of government, each holding a check and balance on the other. New York has lost all sense of this.
The legislature should be the ones making laws (or preferably repealing them). The Governor signs that law into effect (or vetoes it), but does not create law on his own. The Judicial branch determines the constitutionality of such law and makes sure that great impositions are not placed upon the people of the state.
Our Governor currently creates law through a budget process that does not allow debate. He forces a gun to the head of most legislators (figuratively, as the governor has banned as many real guns as possible through unconstitutional law) to pass the budget without changes. Then he does not allow revisions, even declaring that many of the revisions proposed by the legislature unconstitutional without allowing the courts to discuss the decisions.
In addition, he has assumed the power to adjust the budget as he sees the need. It is one man rule with Governor Cuomo, “The Benevolent”, establishing his authority over his fiefdom. We need to change that!
The Governor should be allowed to promote an agenda, but the legislature needs to do their part and keep that agenda in check, create whatever laws they decide upon that may or may not be in that agenda, and then make sure the courts have the ability to do their job in determining the veracity of each piece of legislation. Our State Constitution allows for this, we just need to elect people who value it.
Do you believe it’s beneficial to build relationships with other legislators? Please explain your answer.
Building relationships with other legislators is not only beneficial, but it is a requirement if one wants to be able to be successful in representing their district.
Unless you are able to listen to others, no one will ever care what you think. Dale Carnegie, in his best-selling book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, said it best, “If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.”
Without a relationship, you will never get to know the other persons point of view.
I have done this over the last decade as a volunteer lobbyist for both the Seneca County Farm Bureau and various other organizations in the district. I have worked with downstate legislators, on both sides of the aisle, as well as my local upstate legislators. The key to my success has not been in lecturing my counter-parts on why my ideas were right and theirs were wrong, rather on getting to know them first, learning about their needs, and trying to find ways I could help.
Mr. Carnegie also said, “[T]he only way on earth to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.”
I’ve learned this in my life as a marketing rep, long before I lobbied for anything. Relationships and integrity are the key. Those who value you, as a person, will value your ideas, even if those ideas don’t align with their personal philosophy. A good representative is a Statesman, not a politician. More importantly he or she is a friend to their constituents and their colleagues, concerned about their welfare before his or her own. That is a true representative and true colleague.
If you are not a current legislator, are there certain committees that you would want to be a part of?
There are several committees that I would like to be a part of, but knowing that time is limited and having a desire to be successful in anything I delve into, the following would be on the top of the list:
AG – As representative of an Agricultural district, the policies created here would most impact my district. My farm experience allows me to bring strength to the table.
EDUCATION – Our youth are our greatest resource. My background in teaching and adult training will give me insight to assist on these issues.
MENTAL HEALTH – As a mother of a special needs child, I have been through the Mental Health Care System and have experienced both the positive and negatives that exist currently. Proper care can result in productive lives, while the lack of it only causes misery and costs the taxpayers more in the future. A dollar spent wisely here can save thousands down the road.
SMALL BUSINESS – This is the life blood of our economy. The reduction of regulations is critical to bring New York back to health. Any legislation coming out of this committee will have huge implications on our state’s success.
I wish to be involved in those committees that affect my constituents and that my experience will benefit. There are many others, from WAYS AND MEANS, to ELECTION LAW, to LIBRARIES AND EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY, but if only allowed to select a few the four above would be my first choice.
If you are not currently a member of your party’s leadership in the legislature, would you be interested in joining the leadership? If so, in what role?
No. That may sound counter-intuitive, but being in a leadership role and being in a political party’s leadership role are two different things.
In order to properly represent my district, I will need to give voice to their concerns. That voice may not align with the political views of a particular party. I am here to represent all of my constituents, whether they voted for me, are registered in the same party as I, or not. Leadership in the party forces you to serve another master, the dictates of the party.
Too many times compromise is made in favor of party politics, rather than in favor of the people. I am an employee of the people. I work for them. I belong to the Republican Party because my ideals align best with them, but as a representative, I never want to feel that I am an employee of the Party.
“No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.” Luke 16:13
I will serve my constituents and none other.
Is there a particular legislator, past or present, whom you want to model yourself after?
One who I remember in my youth was Nancy Larraine Hoffman, first elected in 1984 to the NY State Senate. Initially a Democrat, who later became a Republican, what stood out to me was her ability to run for office as a person who did not have a perfect background. She came across as a real person, one who made questionable choices along the way, but did not allow those choices to define her life.
When in office I remember her taking a stance against the “Closed door deals” that happen in Albany and referring to the Legislature as a “Soap Opera”. That was in the late 80’s and some things have never changed.
While I did not agree with many of her political views, especially her extreme pro-choice positions, I admired her moxy.
One has to be not afraid if you are going to put yourself out in the public. Moreover, you have to be ready to battle the storms and accusations thrown at you, even if they are personal and irrelevant to the task you have been assigned. By the grace of God, I want to model myself as one who can stand against the buffets and weather any and all storms.
Are you interested in running for a different political office (for example, the U.S. Congress or governor) in the future?
My first and foremost task is to be a successful assemblywoman for my district. As I have stated in previous answers, I do not believe that these positions should become career positions.
That being said, if the opportunity arose and my constituents felt that I could serve them better as a State Senator or at the Federal level in Washington, D.C., I would consider the option.
Both sitting legislators and candidates for office hear many personal stories from the residents of their district. Is there a story that you’ve heard that you found particularly touching, memorable, or impactful?
On the Agricultural side, a story that I found impactful was that of Westwind Farms, a local poultry hatchery, which the government tried to classify as a commercial manufacturing plant. Not only was this ridiculous, but it got me involved in zoning issues, working with state and local representatives, and pretty much launched my political activism. As such, it was extremely impactful in my life.
As far as touching, I have run into many instances where government paperwork, bureaucracy, or red-tape inhibited people from receiving much needed medical supplies or support. In many cases, it was concerned citizens coming to the rescue. Examples of this were a veteran obtaining a scooter from local business people so that he was no longer house bound, or a fibromyalgia patient getting a much needed wheelchair.
These examples of citizenry coming through when the government could not just goes to prove that the people are able to do a better job in most cases than the government. Charities and privatization are often more successful than bloated bureaucracies. The people of America are inherently good, kind, and caring. Asked to sacrifice to help another, most would. We work better as a society taking care of one another than depending on government to provide solutions.
What characteristics or principles are most important for an elected official?
Caring and Stewardship.
Caring is extremely important because if an elected official does not care about his constituents, their needs, their concerns, and their ideas, that elected official will provide very poor service to his community. A successful representative must listen to their constituents, and in order to do that correctly he or she has to truly care.
Stewardship is equally as important. The representative of a district is assigned not only the job of making their constituents voices heard, but also the job of managing the financial health of the community. Watching over the budget, stopping unfunded mandates, and trying to procure funding so that the needs of the community are met are major components of the position.
They also must be stewards of the land and the local business economy, making sure that any regulations that come up are in the best interest of the community.
Stewardship is watching over what has been put in front of you, and good stewardship starts with Caring.
What do you believe are the core responsibilities for someone elected to this office?
The core responsibilities are first, representing the people of the district in a manner that their concern, their voice, is heard; not the pet projects of the elected representative.
Second, it is the requirement to build relationships with the other elected officials in the legislature so that the districts concerns are not only heard, but acted upon in a positive manner.
Third, it is the duty of the elected official to defend the interests of the district, making sure that no undue burden is placed upon them by either taxation or regulation.
And finally, it is the obligation of the representative to protect the Constitutional Rights of their constituents, regardless of the declaration of National or State Emergencies. Just because a state of emergency is declared, the rights are the citizenry are not nullified. They are unalienable, which means that no lien can ever be placed against them, they cannot be diminished, taken away, or denied in any manner. No greater responsibility exists than this.
Is there a book, essay, film, or something else you would recommend to someone who wants to understand your political philosophy?
The film “Patton”. What I liked most about it is the story of an unpolished, hard-nosed individual who will do whatever it takes to get the job done. If that means defying orders, so be it. He was going to do the right thing because it was the right thing to do, even if it was not politically expedient.
General Patton epitomized the valor and courage that made up most of the “Greatest Generation”, the American men and women who fought World War II.
In the end, political brinkmanship caused an end to a fine military career, and the inability of the political leadership to listen to the “gruff old man” resulted in over 40 years of the Cold War.
General Patton may have not been politically correct, but I admire his willingness to sacrifice all to do the right thing for his country and his men.
I, as a representative, will do whatever it takes, to do the right thing for my country, my district, and my constituents.
What is your professional career to date?
Meadeville Farms – Farmer – ’05 – present
Seneca County Farm Bureau -President – ’09 – present
Fitness Instructor – ’13 – present
NY Chiropratic College – Herb Garden Mgr – ’15 – present
Inficon – Analytical Chemist/Trainer – ’05-’08
Finger Lakes Radio Group – Marketing Consultant – ’04-’05
York Central School – Computer Tech Coordinator – ’02-’03
Hobart & William Smith College – Lab Instructor – ’00-’01
Romulus Central School – Computer Lab TA – ’99’-’00
Boeff Golf – PR & Marketing Director – ’98-’00
Contract Positions -GC Hanford Manufacturing – Chemist, Bristol-Myers Squibb – Validation Tech, Zotos International – Chem Analyst, ’97-’98
Ferro Corp – QC Tech – ’96-’97
Mobile – Computer Oper-’92
Goulds Pumps – Computer Oper – ’89-’91
Met Life – Disability Claims – ’85-’88
St. Elizabeth Hospital – ’85-’86
Carrier Corp – Auditor – ’84-’85
Emkay Candles – Lab Asst.- ‘Summers ’82 & ’83
Please list any professional credentials below.
SH1FT & L1FT Fitness Instructor – 2020
Paul Harris Fellowship for “Service Above Self” – 2019
Silver Sneakers Fitness Instructor- 2017
Insanity & PiYo Fitness Instructor – 2013
NYS Pesticide Applicator – 2011, 2016
Bachelor of Science in Chemistry – 2000
Associates of Science in Arts & Mathematics/Science – 1994
Special Education Committee Parent Representative – 1992
Residential Wiring – 1992
What organizations are you affiliated with and how?
New York Farm Bureau – Seneca County Chapter – President
Seneca County Cornell Cooperative Extension – Treasuer
St. Mary’s Church, Auburn, NY – Parish Council, Chair of Fundraising Committee
Chamber of Commerce
Habitat for Humanity
Little League and Soccer Coach
Special Education Committees
Religious Education Teacher
What qualities do you possess that you believe would make you a successful officeholder?
My ability to communicate with people and build lasting relationships will be critical to my success as a representative. Being in the minority party, the only way to accomplish anything is going to be through networking with other legislators. I already have an extensive network through my prior experience in Albany and will continue to expand upon that as I am able to build these relationships on a full-time basis.
My varied professional experience has given me unique insights including:
1) As a Chemist, including time spent working on water quality and specializing in anti-terrorism detection of volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) attacks for DOD and Homeland Security to protect our water systems.
2) As a Teacher and Trainer, both at the scholastic and adult level with experience in Special Education. 3) As both a Farmer and President of the County Farm Bureau enabling me to address many of the issues that concern our community.
Those concerns include Agriculture, Education, and local Water Quality.
Our Education system is going under a rebuild. Unfortunately, those in charge of the changes are not experienced educators. Teachers voices need to be heard and I will be able to do that.
Our lakes provide not only the water supply, but are integral to our Tourism industry. Proper stewardship of those resources is vital in maintaining the local economy, which depends tremendously on Agricultural Tourism (Wineries, Breweries, Distilleries, and Cheese Trail), the Hospitality Industry, and Family Activities (Fishing, Hunting, Golfing, Water Sports, and Bird Sanctuaries).
Understanding the needs of the small businesses and agriculture in our area, while having knowledge of their specialties, will enable me to represent them in an informed and well-educated manor. Being able to explain those needs, to the other legislators that I have developed relationships with, will enable them to assist me in taking care of my constituents.
What legacy would you like to leave?
The legacy that I wish to leave behind is a “Greater” New York. One that has stemmed out-migration and become a destination place again. One that has returned to economic prosperity. One where the children who grew up here can afford to stay here, while their parents can afford to retire here.
I want to see a New York that stands for Liberty; not just by having a statue, but by defending the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Where the residents feel that they have a government that they control, not that they are controlled by the government.
Our state motto is “Excelsior”, meaning ever upward. That is how our economy should be, that is how our hope should be, and that is where our dreams should be. I want New York to be the land where the American Dream thrives, not dies.
We can do better. We must do better. I want to be a part of the movement to make New York Great Again.
What is something that has been a struggle in your life?
Both of my children fell into the special needs category for different reasons.
My oldest had a Grand Mal Seizure as a reaction to the pertussis vaccine as a baby. As a result, physical therapy was required for several years for him to achieve proper tactile function.
My next child actually had both medical issues as a baby from ear infections, resulting in temporary hearing loss, and later discovered mental health issues from a bi-polar condition. This resulted not only in speech therapy, but also having to receive specialized schooling.
I was lucky in the fact that I was able to get him into the Avalon School in Rochester, a school for mental health patients (actual diagnosed medical conditions, not behavioral problems) who possess high IQ’s, but his took a lot of mine and my husband’s time, creating issues between work life, parenting the other child, and taking care of the special needs child.
As a result of this, I became a Parent Representative for special needs parents. Having had a minor in Education, I took the necessary classes to become an advocate for special needs families. These experiences taught me the value of having a fully functioning Mental Health System and also the additional burdens that the parents of these children struggle with every day.
I say I was lucky because due to the Grace of God, my husband’s help, and the options that were open to my son and I (though that was a struggle to obtain), my son is living a successful and productive life. It wasn’t easy, but those experiences will make me a better advocate for all families as their representative in Albany.
What was the last song that got stuck in your head?
The song is “Love is Mystical” by the Indie band, Cold War Kids.”
According to Nathan Willett from the band, the meaning of the song is, “It is about supernatural love — looking for inspiration and meaning, surrendering to feeling, love calling out your name and that journey we must go on to find it.”
“Love is mystical” was from a book written by Franciscan Friar, Richard Rohr. The book was titled “Falling Upwards”.
Being familiar with the book may have influenced why the song stuck with me. Then again, maybe I just liked the lyrics and music.
What is your favorite book? Why?
Gone With the Wind. Scarlett O’Hara is a strong willed woman with a head for business that is willing to take risks and do what needs to be done to survive and prosper.
I found the book better than the movie, but both were well done.
If you could be any fictional character, who would you want to be?
Being a fitness instructor, I tend to gravitate towards strong female characters that can hold their own with their male counterparts, both physically and mentally. The more family Friendly version of this would be Xena, the spinoff from the Hercules TV series.
She is strong, unafraid, and willing to sacrifice to do the right thing. Her past wasn’t perfect, but that didn’t stop her from becoming who she wanted to be.
The less family friendly version would be Xenia Xonatopp from the James Bond movie series. Once again, I liked the physicality and her ability to hold her own, as well as her handling of an automatic weapon. However, her method of taking out rivals was not something I would approve of.