The residents of District 2 (Butternuts, Morris, Pittsfield) will soon elect a county representative. I am writing to urge them to cast their vote for Teresa Winchester. Teresa possesses that rare combination of brilliance, integrity and humility that makes her an outstanding leader.

As executive director for Otsego County Conservation Association, and at the onset, sole employee, Teresa worked tirelessly, for little pay, on behalf of the stewardship of our environment. She collaborated with farmers, instituted initiatives, strategically planned at the county level, grew the membership, solicited funding and expanded the staff.

She attended state-wide trainings and hosted community events, including engaging the services of BOCES culinary students to prepare fundraising dinners with locally grown foods. Teresa re-mixed discarded paint at Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day, cleared brush along trails mapped for public enjoyment, and marked and arranged items for the OCCA Community Garage Sale. She also researched topics, authored numerous articles, and published newsletters.

And, oh, yes, she earned a Ph. D. in French Literature and, prior to OCCA, taught at the college level.

Outside work, she may be serving as a “girl Friday” for her elderly mother or leaving at the break of dawn to drive a friend to a medical appointment in Albany; or passionately cheering on her college basketball team at bracket time. I would know since I have had the privilege of being a former employee and friend of hers for over 12 years now.

Teresa asks to learn, listens to understand, responds with action, and informs to empower.  She is able to remain focused on the vision and uphold principles in the midst of storms. Doesn't Teresa Winchester possess the characteristics of someone whom you would want representing you in these trying times?

Linda M. Van Slyke

Schuyler Lake

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