Supervisors Elect Tistrya Houghtling as Minority Leader, Chameides Deputy Minority Leader
January 4, 2021
In 2021, Democratic Members of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors will have a new Minority Leader: Tistrya Houghtling.
“The nation and the county struggles with four crucial priorities: COVID-19, economic recovery, racial justice, and climate change,” said Houghtling. “County government has an important role in creating solutions that benefit Columbia County residents.”
Houghtling was elected by the Democratic Supervisors at the December 30, 2020 caucus meeting. That vote was affirmed by the entire Board of Supervisors at the 2021 organizational meeting on January 4, 2021.
Houghtling replaces Sarah Sterling who has been the previous Minority Leader, serving for the past three years. While Minority Leader, as the first woman in this position, Sterling spearheaded the change in the Board of Elections to create full-time election commissioners. She has worked hard to have bipartisan agreements reached without discord. This year was the most difficult with COVID necessitating significant budget cuts as well as several policy changes.
“I want to thank Supervisor Sterling for her leadership role and her commitment to both County government and the Democratic Party,” said Houghtling. “She has been a generous, kind, and hard-working leader.”
“I am so pleased to have Tistrya assuming the leadership of our caucus,” Sterling responded. “She will bring fresh eyes and enthusiasm as she promotes Democratic objectives. She has my full support.”
The shift in leadership comes after an increasing number of Democrats winning at the ballot box. 57% of Columbia County voters selected Biden. Nine out of 10 newly registered voters over the past four years registered as Democrats, making the Democratic Party the largest party in Columbia County. While Democrats at the Board of Supervisors are in the minority because of the weighted vote, there are now more Democratic supervisors than Republican ones.
“I am delighted Tistrya Houghtling has been elected Minority Leader by the Democratic Caucus,” said Columbia County Democratic Committee Chair Keith Kanaga. “She is a visionary leader with strong principles and a passion for helping people. She will be effective in strengthening a unified caucus as well as developing working relationships with all county supervisors, whatever their party. I would also like to recognize the incredible work Sarah Sterling has done as Minority Leader during the past three years.”
Michael Chameides will serve as the Deputy Minority Leader.
“We have an urgent opportunity to help people overcome the risks of coronavirus, economic instability, and inequality,” says Chameides. “Working together and increasing participation, we will improve programs, services, and resources that ensure a healthy and equitable community.”
Houghtling is the Supervisor for New Lebanon. Prior to serving as Supervisor, she served as New Lebanon Town Clerk for 4 years as well as New Lebanon Court Clerk and Deputy Court Clerk for 5 years. She initiated the Business and Economic Development Committee for the New Lebanon Town Board and was integral in New Lebanon becoming a Climate Smart Community and Clean Energy Community.
Houghtling has a passion for helping others. She has initiated several community projects to help get resources to people in New Lebanon who are in need. Projects include a holiday gift drive and a year-round free store that distributes free clothing and footwear. She also oversees a food giveaway that serves the New Lebanon School District. During the pandemic, she has distributed free masks and hand sanitizer and started a grocery delivery program.
Chameides has served on the Board of Supervisors for three years. During this time, he has expanded public participation and involvement with county government. He has helped secure grants for affordable housing, bicycle equipment, crosswalks, climate change planning, fair elections, census outreach, and urban forestry. He has supported several environmental causes and worked with the Public Transportation Committee to improve public transportation. He is the former Chair of the Hudson City Democratic Committee.