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  • Writer's pictureTommy Zurhellen

I Saw The Sign

Monday, July 31st

Dear Friends:

Can you believe it’s almost August? As we bid farewell to July, I want to take one last opportunity to acknowledge Disability Pride Month and the 30th anniversary of the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) this month. We have a long journey ahead to ensure all residents and visitors in Dutchess County enjoy equal access to public spaces, employment, and everything in between, but together I know we can do it! I’m excited to take that journey with you as your next Dutchess County Executive.

August has always been the unofficial start to election season, with lawn signs starting to pop up here and there like shiny dandelions in our neighbors’ yards. With roughly ninety days until Election Day, it’s the time most folks slowly start paying attention to the candidates they might support. Of course, come November we’ll all probably be sick of the signs choking every available patch of grass like unwelcome weeds – but for now, we can appreciate them as colorful, gentle reminders that we have some big decisions looming in the fall.

I picked up my first batch of lawn signs last week, and I have to say, I got a little emotional when I pulled one out of the box to glance at it for the very first time. As you know, this is my first adventure running for office and as I traced my finger over the letters of my name emblazoned on the sign, it struck me: complete strangers are going to believe in me enough to put this in front of their homes. That is incredible, and it’s an honor not lost on me.

Before I forget, I want to mention that our lawn signs (and all our printed materials, really) are crafted by a NYS-certified woman-owned business that has been Union Strong since 1978. In addition, our t-shirts are all made with love by a local, family-owned business here in Poughkeepsie. Supporting our unions and local small businesses is so important to me as we conduct our campaign the right way. I know it’s important to you, too.

Honestly, I used to think a lawn sign was just a lawn sign. But now that I’m a candidate myself, I know my lawn signs are made up of a lot more than merely plastic and fancy ink. If you think about it, they are symbols of trust and hope. When someone cares enough to place my lawn sign on their property, they are making a commitment. They are taking a stand. They are inviting real conversations with their neighbors about the issues we all care about. And that is no small feat.

Not everyone is going to feel comfortable putting our lawn signs in front of their homes or businesses, and I totally understand that decision. If you live on a street with a bunch of Republicans, for example, you might not want the hassle. I get it. But that little blue sign can be a quiet act of defiance, too. It tells that Trumper down the road that we are no longer afraid of their fear-mongering. It tells the folks next door who have always voted red because there has never been a choice that this year we indeed have a choice. It tells the people in your own household, especially the young people, that hey, we stand for something. We stand for freedom and inclusion. We stand for kindness. We stand for choice.

Who knew a little plastic sign next to the sidewalk could mean so much?

Three months from now, when we see our lawn signs proudly displayed everywhere, no matter what road we’re driving in Dutchess County, we will know we’re going to win this election. I hope you will make that small act of defiance with me and place a lawn sign in front of your home! I hope you will also encourage your neighbors to join us in sharing our message of hope and inclusion, as well. Together, we can!

If you can’t wait for your lawn sign, I hope you will join us tomorrow, August 1st from 4-7 at O’Connor’s in Pawling for our second Team Tommy Energy Bar event. We’ll have lawn signs and t-shirts for you to take away, not to mention plenty of food and fun, so please come out and see us tomorrow! Just send an email to to RSVP. Bring a friend!

Even though our lawn signs are proudly made in a Union shop, they still cost money! I hope you will consider donating to our campaign in any amount to help keep these signs coming right up until November. You can donate via the secure Act Blue link below, or you can send a check made to “Tommy for Dutchess” to us at: Tommy for Dutchess, P.O. Box 644, Poughkeepsie NY 12602. We will never take money from corporations or corporate PACs, so we rely 100% on heroes just like you! Thank you for your generosity and support!

Finally, can you believe this is the 20th letter I’ve written you so far? We have covered so many different issues and topics, and we have plenty more to tackle ahead. Let’s keep rolling! Thank you for joining us each week!

Thank you so much for listening. See you next time!

Respectfully, Tommy


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