Tracey Bartels Re-elected to Lead the Ulster County Legislature

Posted January 6, 2023

Kingston, NY—Tracey A. Bartels was re-elected as chair of the Ulster County Legislature this evening at the annual organizational meeting.

Bartels, an eight-term legislator who represents Gardiner and Shawangunk, was chosen for the top leadership position for the third time in her fifteen-year tenure in the Ulster County Legislature.

In 2019, Bartels became the first woman from the Democratic caucus to serve as the chair of the Ulster County Legislature and only the second woman to lead in the body's 55-year history. She is also the first chair who is not enrolled in a political party.

Bartels was nominated to the chair position by Legislator Abe Uchitelle (District. 5–City of Kingston) and seconded by Legislator Gina Hansut (District. 10–Towns of Lloyd and Marlborough).

Democratic Majority Leader Jonathan R. Heppner (District. 23–Towns of Woodstock and Hurley) said, “Chair Tracey Bartels has been an incredibly impactful leader for all of Ulster County. She has continued to ensure that the Legislature is moving forward and getting the work done on behalf of our shared constituents. I look forward to our body’s continued progress under her leadership.”

Legislator Uchitelle states, “It's an honor to support Legislator Tracey Bartels continuing to serve as our chair moving forward into the second year of our term. The projects we have embarked upon last year are critical, and through Chair Bartels' commitment to measured progress, I know that under her leadership, we will see many of them across the finish line in the year ahead.”

Legislator Gina Hansut states, “As a member of the Republican Caucus, I am proud to support Tracey Bartels as Chair. Chair Bartels has always been willing to listen to all sides of a discussion. I come from a family deeply dedicated to public service, so I understand that when you want to make a difference, bipartisanship isn't an option; it is a requirement.” Legislator Hansut adds, "I am excited to begin another productive term and look forward to working with Chair Bartels and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle.”

“I am honored to continue to lead the Ulster County Legislature and deeply appreciate the confidence my colleagues have placed in me,” states Chair Bartels. “As I have often said, the chair is a seat among equals. It is an incredible honor to be selected to lead Ulster's most diverse and professionally accomplished legislative body.”

“Ulster County faces incredible challenges,” Chair Bartels adds. “The Legislature is excited to partner with our new County Executive, Jen Metzger, and her team to confront the mental health and opioid crisis, address the County's affordable housing crisis, and do everything in our power to be a part of a climate solution that will save our earth.” Chair Bartels adds, “Our body is deeply committed to working together to deliver on our shared goals and to build a strong local economy that leaves no one behind.”


Majority and Minority Leadership Reappointed


Democrats re-elected Jonathan R. Heppner (District. 23–Towns of Woodstock and Hurley) as Majority Leader and Abe Uchitelle (District. 5–City of Kingston) as Deputy Majority Leader. In addition, Chair Bartels has reappointed Legislator Eve Walter (District. 20–Town and Village of New Paltz) as Vice Chair of the Ulster County Legislature.

Legislator Kenneth J. Ronk (District. 13–Town of Shawangunk), was re-elected as Minority Leader, and Legislator Craig Lopez (District. 13–Towns of Shawangunk & Wawarsing) was re-elected Deputy Minority Leader.


Ulster County Legislature Establishes 2023 Standing Committees



To set legislative policy and review contracts for all aspects of Ulster County Department of Economic Development, Ulster County Department of Planning, Office of Employment and Training, Ulster County Community College, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Ulster County Soil and Water Conservation District, Arts, Tourism and Libraries. Responsible for issues pertaining to: Ulster County Industrial Development Agency, Ulster County Planning Board, Revolving Loan Fund Committee, Shovel Ready Committee. To foster relations and communications with the Ulster County Economic Alliance and local Chambers of Commerce. To establish policy relating to agriculture and farmland preservation.


To set policy and review contracts pertaining to the Department of the Environment, Environmental Management Council, Fish and Wildlife Management Board, and Forest Practice Board, including the protection of waterways and the County’s recycling efforts. To set policy and review contracts pertaining to but not limited to the activities of the Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency.


To set policy and review contracts pertaining to the following County Departments and Divisions: Ulster County Sheriff and the Law Enforcement Center, Public Defender, District Attorney, Probation, Restorative Justice, Emergency Management/ Emergency Communications, Arson Task Force, Fire Coordinator, EMS Coordinator, STOP DWI, Consumer Fraud Bureau, Weights and Measures, and Safety Office.


To set policy and review contracts pertaining to the following County Departments and Divisions: Board of Elections, County Clerk, County Attorney, Human Rights, Insurance and Board of Ethics. To oversee legislative policy and legislative proposed revisions to the Ulster County Charter and the Administrative Code. To review and maintain the Rules of the Legislature and to review and approve all local laws for legal sufficiency only, unless Laws and Rules, Government Services is the committee of original jurisdiction. To approve all late resolutions, considering lateness and content prior to submittal to the full Legislature. To approve resolutions required to be referred to it under the Rules of the Legislature.


To set policy for and review contracts pertaining to the following County Departments and Divisions: Health, Mental Health, Social Services, Community Action, Office for the Aging, Youth Bureau, and Veterans Affairs. To set policy relating to housing issues including but not limited to temporary, emergency, affordable, workforce, and senior housing.


To set policy for and review contracts pertaining to the following County Departments and Divisions: Public Works (including Parks, Highways, and Buildings and Grounds), Transportation (including Fleet Management and Ulster County Area Transit), Trails, the Electrical Licensing Board, and all Capital Projects.


To recommend the Legislature’s position on all budgetary and financial matters of the County. To review contracts pertaining to the following departments: Comptroller, Finance, Innovation Division, Personnel, Purchasing, Information Services and Real Property Tax Services. To approve all resolutions with financial impacts to the County, excluding those financial impacts limited solely to legislative advertising expenses.