Wednesday, May 15, 2019


Political newcomer enters Poughkeepsie mayoral race

Ward : "... bring people, organizations,
the community together ..."

POUGHKEEPSIE – A Poughkeepsie man is challenging Republican Mayor Robert Rolison in the November election. Joash Ward will be running on the Democratic line in his first political effort.

Ward, 23, graduated from Poughkeepsie High School at the age of 16 and claims to have been the youngest Valedictorian of any public high school in the United States in 2012.

"The quality of life here in the City of Poughkeepsie is defined by what's going on in the school district,” he said. “Right now, it's defined based on how safe we feel - which isn't just a reflection of how much money we spend on our police and fire safety - it's a reflection of how our residents feel valued, how we invest in our families, and in our young people."

At a recent forum regarding the future use of the YMCA, hosted by the city, two young girls spoke about the conditions in the city schools and the need for a community center. 

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Ward accused Rolison of brushing the girls' comments aside.  "The mayor couldn't look our young people in the face when three brave girls confronted him last night because he knows the only community center for the young people in the Republican plan is a jail." 

On the same day that a 19-year-old Poughkeepsie High School student was arrested on charges of bringing a loaded handgun into the school, Ward's Facebook post said "Republicans in Dutchess County do have a plan for young people coming out of Poughkeepsie High School - Incarceration."  The 19-year-old who brought the gun to school was charged with the felonies of criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds.

Ward, who graduated from Syracuse University at the age of 19, further addressed the safety of Poughkeepsie's youth by saying "If school is getting out at 2:30 or 3:00 so the city's responsibility to our young people is what happens to them after school is done and I think that's where the city needs to start focusing more of its time and energy.  It will make this city safer.  It will make the city a safer place to invest and live."

After graduating from Syracuse, Ward attended law school at King's College in London, graduating in January of this year.  Answering criticisms of being too young to run for mayor, Ward responded with "My age is a reflection of the world-renowned education that the City of Poughkeepsie can deliver.  As a graduate at 16 and of college at 19, and of law school at 23, as a proud product of the City of Poughkeepsie, what my age is, is a reflection of is what happens when we foster growth and learning in this city." 

Ward claims that his family and upbringing make him qualified to be mayor.  "As a child in a family of seven children, I would say as a resident of the City of Poughkeepsie and as a citizen in this country, the mayor's responsibility is to bring people, organizations, the community together to work together on our challenges, on our issues, and I would say I am uniquely fit to do that."

The candidate's bio indicates that he started his career as an intern in the White House under the Obama Administration, leading to becoming the highest efficiency analyst in the history of the Office of President Correspondence.  After the White House, Ward joined the US Mission to the United Nations in New York as part of the Management Reform Team.


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