With more than a decade in public service, David Fried has committed his life to improving the lives of others. As an Advance Aide to President Bill Clinton and then-First Lady Hillary Clinton, David traveled across the country and world representing the United States. Later, as a District Representative for Congresswoman Nita Lowey, David helped residents with Medicare, Social Security, and other federal benefits by cutting through government red tape.
With his parents, Sandy and Beverly, owners of a small business in Spring Valley, David witnessed firsthand the struggles of any small business – making payroll, paying always increasing taxes, and looking for innovative ways to grow.
Elected to the County Legislature in 2003, David served as the Chair of the Public Safety committee, later as a Public Safety Advocate to the Sheriff’s Department, helping secure millions in grant funding for police departments across Rockland. Elected in 2009 as Spring Valley Justice, David worked tirelessly, revolutionizing the court and its operations.
A graduate of Spring Valley High School, David received his Bachelor’s degree from Manhattanville College and a law degree from Benjamin Cardozo School of Law. David has served as an Adjunct Professor at Pace University and St. Thomas Aquinas College.
Stop the Pay Raises and Cut the Salaries
One of my first votes as a County Legislator in 2003 was for a pay raise for legislators; despite pressure from senior legislators, I voted ‘no’. As County Executive, not only will I veto any pay raises, I will cut the salary of the County Executive, my staff, and all the commissioners. It’s about more than talk; it’s about leading by example.
Shrink the Legislature
Nassau County Legislators represents districts with 52,000 residents; Westchester legislators have districts with 37,500 people. Why can’t Rockland legislators represent more than 18,000 residents? A smaller legislature, with commonsense districts instead of jigsaw puzzle gerrymandered ones, will be able to better represent the people – all the while saving money for taxpayers.
Rockland County – Tourist Destination
Charming downtowns and quaint villages, sites rich with history, and breathtaking scenic vistas – all mere miles from New York City – Rockland County has it all. By working with Rockland’s towns and villages, along with the business community, we can properly promote Rockland and turn these potential tourist destinations into engines of economic opportunity.
It’s Our Water
Rockland shouldn’t need ‘special status’ to voice its concerns about the proposed Hudson River water desalination plant in Haverstraw. While United Water may own the pipes, the water belongs to the people. As County Executive, I will commission a taskforce to explore the creation of a County Water District. Only a Water District gives Rockland residents the voice they deserve.
Revitalizing the Economy
As Rockland’s finances have deteriorated – a $125,000,000 deficit and the lowest credit rating in NY – so has our economy. With the economic turmoil, old businesses are leaving and new businesses are staying away, increasing unemployment and reducing tax revenues. By tackling the deficit and making the tough decisions, we can promote the smart, sustainable growth Rockland needs.
What are the leadership strengths that you offer the people of your town/village and why are you a more qualified and effective leader than the challenger?
For me, leadership means more than campaign promises, press releases, and rhetoric; it means leading by example. Shortly after being elected to the County Legislature, I was asked to vote for a pay raise for legislators. Despite enormous pressure from senior Democrats – many of whom had endorsed my candidacy – I didn’t yield. My vote was not because it was the best thing to do politically; I didn’t do it to endear myself to new colleagues. I voted ‘no’ because it was the right thing do.
As county executive, I will continue to lead by example. Instead of asking the legislature to give me a pay raise, I will volunteer for a pay cut – a 20% pay cut. When government is asking taxpayers to do more with less, government should do more with less too.
This is the first election for Rockland County Executive with no incumbents since the position’s creation in 1985. We have an opportunity to stay with the status quo or to move Rockland forward in a new direction.
What will be your top two agenda upon being sworn into office in 2014?
Tackle the Deficit
As a result of years of overestimated revenues and underestimated expenses, along with a top-heavy government over-reliant on middle and upper management, Rockland County’s finances are in crisis. Shortsighted decisions like taking an anticipatory loan on the sale of still-publicly owned Summit Park Hospital has given us a $125,000,000 deficit and the lowest credit rating in New York.
We must make serious progress, today, on reducing the deficit. Until we do so, Rockland cannot be economically competitive. The dire financial straits facing the county are holding our economy hostage. Old businesses are shuttering, while new businesses are staying away.
As County Executive, utilizing my experience as a Judge in Spring Valley, I will make the tough decisions that have been put off too many times for too many years.
Reorganize the Government
Over the years, county government has grown too top heavy, burdened by an excess of middle and upper management. As County Executive, I will reorganize Rockland government to make it leaner and more efficient, auditing every job for necessity, and making qualifications and experience the only job criteria – not political connections.
For example, does Rockland County need a Drainage Agency, a Water Supply Bureau, a Water Quality Management group, a Water Board, and a Soil & Water Conservation District? Or could those different boards, bureaus and agencies work under one roof? Commonsense consolidation not only makes government work better, but it saves taxpayers money. It’s not about bigger government or smaller government; it’s about smarter government.