BY MICHAEL RICONDA
Nanuet – Republican County Clerk Candidate Donna Held is likely to face stiff competition from longtime office holder and Democratic incumbent Paul Piperato, but if elected, her office could see significant change.
If elected, this would be her first position as an elected county official. However, she explained she entered the race only when the Republican Committee specifically requested her candidacy.
“I absolutely think I’m up to the challenge,” Held explained.
Before this race, Held’s first experience with local politics was a run for Clarkstown Town Clerk in 2009, when she was defeated by current State Sen. David Carlucci.
Considering Held’s experience with the Republicans, her candidacy is an understandable step up from party leadership to electoral politics. She served with the Clarkstown Republican Committee as district leader, area leader and executive assistant to the board.
In order to distinguish herself as a candidate, Held has crafted a platform of revamping office operations. In particular, she points office’s technology which she feels is long overdue for an update.
“Even though you have all that technology that they put in there, everything is antiquated,” Held explained.
Under Held, tech updates would also include a data-mining system to identify housing title anomalies which could indicate cases fraud. According to Held, an effective system would expose suspicious activity while filtering out legitimate deed changes.
“If it’s a legitimate purpose, this is not a policing agency,” Held explained. “Therefore, all it does is have transparency,”
Held is also promising to improve the office’s interactions with the general public. Among the strategies she hopes to implement are improvements to historical records and the creation of mobile apps for easy access to Town Clerk records.
Though she identifies as an advocate of transparency, Held also takes a strong position on privacy. Arguing for a balance between transparency and privacy, she explained the County Clerk’s office could have fought to prevent full disclosures of disclosure of gun records to the Journal News through redactions or other limited disclosure of FOIL-requested information.
“I think the gun permits, when they had FOIL requested them, were overbroad,” Held said. “I can’t imagine that they would give one hundred percent of [the gun records].”
Outside of politics, Held has also served on various advisory boards at Rockland Community College. She has also been active in a variety of volunteer organizations in her free time, including Meals on Wheels, the Girl Scouts and the Clarkstown Senior Center.