Newly elected legislator Cat Scott, of District 5, Sullivan County, discusses her motivation for running, her campaign experience, and her future plans. The issues of the Adult Care Center at Sunset Lake, transparency, fiscal responsibility, and collaboration among legislators were brought up.
We ask about specific issues and scenarios while Cat Scott expresses her commitment to act with respect, and civility in her new role.
Cat Scott: [00:00:00] it Feels a little surreal, but I’m feeling pretty good.
Tim Bruno: Yeah. Yeah. Was it late night?
Cat Scott: Little bit. Early morning, late night, whatever.
Tim Bruno: We were talking with Matt McPhillips earlier about his win in District 1 and one of the reasons why he got into the race.
Some of the things he didn’t like seeing that was happening in the Sullivan County Legislature. That’s one of the reasons why you got involved too.
Cat Scott: Yes. Originally it started when they announced they were going to sell the care center where my mother is a resident. And I started going to legislative meetings.
And I’ve told this to many people. I was expecting a fair process. And instead, I found a very unfair process and a hidden agenda and it became apparent quite soon that the way our legislature was being run was not how county government should be run. So through the process of attending meetings over the last three years, I saw a lot of concerning issues that face Sullivan County that were not, in my opinion, being properly addressed.
So sometimes a girl’s just got to [00:01:00] do it for herself. So I threw my hat in the ring and here we are.
Jason Dole: It’s great. And this is exactly what I want, wanted to ask you, is just to underline that, that once you were running, you’re not a single issue candidate, but you really were moved to become a candidate by this single issue.
That’s really what pushed you into this, right?
Cat Scott: Yeah, I, that was the catalyst. So
Jason Dole: what happens, we just asked Matt McPhillips, I don’t know if you heard me say what’s top line outta the gate? What do you want to accomplish now that you want the legislature to focus on policy and accomplishing things?
First thing you said was getting back control of the care center.
Cat Scott: Yeah, the way the care center is being managed right now is not good. It’s not good for the residents. It’s not good for future residents. It’s an issue that we really have to look at. There’s a lot that has been said by the current legislators some of the current legislators about the financial situation, but I don’t know what’s true and what isn’t true.
So we really have to look at the finances. And but we have to make sure that the people who are in there and the people who will be there in the future receive the dignity and [00:02:00] care that they deserve. These are people that built our community. We need to make sure that in their last days or in their moment of need that we’re there for them.
But we also have to be very realistic about what’s happening. So we need to take a really good look at what’s happening with the finances. And like I said, I don’t trust some of the information that’s come out.
Jason Dole: But what’s interesting about that is you feel passionately about this. You say something needs to be done, but you’re not coming in saying this is the exact solution and the exact path that we need to pursue.
You’re saying these are the goals. These are the levels of humanity that we need to maintain, but we got to do a little more research before we come up with a definitive plan.
Cat Scott: Before you come up with a solution, you have to have a full understanding of what the problem is. And like I said, the last.
Almost four years. We have not had transparency with this legislature, so without having full transparency and without having a full understanding of what is going on, I’m not going to come out and make big promises. I will do what is right for the residents of that facility and the residents of [00:03:00] this county.
But without A full understanding of what’s going on, you can’t, but yeah, we do want to take it back. We do want to make sure that the people there have the care that they need. That is a goal. But how we do that moving forward, I can’t tell you how we’re going to do that until we get a full look at the finances.
Patricio Robayo: Watching the legislature meetings, I watch it weekly and I’ve seen your progress. I’ve seen you coming to the meetings, holding up signs and. And definitely because of the care center. But before we get into that, what was your mom’s reaction?
Cat Scott: I’m going there after I do this.
Oh, that’s great. I’ll go and let my mom know, yeah. Oh,
Patricio Robayo: The reasons why you went there wanted to have your voice heard that you’re looking forward to working with your other persons on the board, even those who may have opposed you.
Cat Scott: On this level of government, I don’t understand the Republican Democrat stuff because we live in a small community.
We know who each other are, right? So it should really just to be about people working with people for the goal of, working for our [00:04:00] community. So no I’m not going to look at somebody who may have been, on the opposite team as anything other than somebody I’m going to collaborate with.
We all have to work together.
Tim Bruno: Speaking of that, the Democrats look as if they have secured the majority for Sullivan County Legislature. Having the majority of like minded individuals in control, what does that mean for furthering the agendas that you have? And how does it feel as Matt alluded to earlier you guys approach the election as a team.
Do you think you’ll be approaching governance as a team as well?
Cat Scott: I hope so. I hope that the legislature, all nine of us are a team. Because what’s happened over the last three plus years, almost four years, is that it’s, the legislature became a very divisive place. It became a place where there’s inappropriate behavior, like I said, lack of transparency.
And it wasn’t just people in Sullivan County who noticed. It was people outside of Sullivan County. So if we really want to do what’s right by the people of Sullivan County, we will behave [00:05:00] ourselves. We will work as a team. We will be transparent. We will be civil. And we will respect civic process so that people outside of Sullivan County see us as a good investment, because we are a good investment.
Tim Bruno: I know you’ve been campaigning a lot. I feel like I’ve run into you at every event. When you’re out there, when you were out there on the trail and talking to folks, were you hearing that? Were you saying, were they saying let’s stop the drama?
Cat Scott: I was hearing that. I was hearing people who were reacting to what was ending, what was showing up in the media, what was showing up in social media.
They said, we look like a joke, right? We’re not happy with some of the behavior that’s happening. And I agreed with them when you’re elected to this position, the people have given me this job. I have to do it with honor and respect. And I expect that from all of my fellow legislators, because we are representing the people of Sullivan County.
We’re, I’m representing the people from district five.
Jason Dole: We’ve talked a lot about this issue and the nature [00:06:00] of the last three or four years in terms of conduct, what people are perceiving and how the functionality of the legislature, the dysfunctionality of it on the other side though for the past three or four years, and I think a number of the incumbents were campaigning on this.
Was greater fiscal responsibility. It typified the last three or four years greater fiscal health rankings. , tightening up that ship. Will the Democrats be able to accomplish the things that they wanna accomplish for their constituents? And maintain some level of fiscal responsibility?
Cat Scott: Yes. And that’s a goal. That’s a goal for as we were running together as a team, that was something that we all discussed. Sullivan County is a heavily taxed. We can’t afford to raise taxes. We have, but I firmly believe that we can be responsible and we can love our neighbor with and be financially responsible, right?
I don’t think we have to sacrifice each other to be financially responsible. I think that can be done. I think you just have to work hard at it and [00:07:00] I’m willing to do the hard work.
Tim Bruno: When you started this journey toward this election toward winning this seat, did you think you’d
Cat Scott: I tried not to think too far ahead.
I just handled what was in front of me at the time. Because honestly, people for three years have been pressuring me to run. And it caused a lot of anxiety. And it was… My wonderful life hostage, Brock, who said to me, who said to me when’s the election? And I said, 2023. He said then why are you thinking about it now?
He said, just handle what’s in front of you at the moment. And, I think like a lot of people who are successful, they have a partner who is behind them who, keeps the home fires lit and keeps them sane. He does that for me. So I didn’t think too far ahead. I just thought about the goal, the little goals, the little steps leading up to this.
Actually today feels a little surreal because I didn’t think about it.
Tim Bruno: And now you have to. Sounds like a good philosophy for how you’ll be working in the legislature too. [00:08:00]
Cat Scott: Yes. You have to think, you have to look at what’s in front of you. You have to have a good idea of the bigger picture, but you have to look at what’s in front of you.
You can’t lose sight of that. I like to say don’t, pinch your pennies to burn your dollars and it’s the opposite when it comes to stuff like this. Don’t, look at what’s ahead of you so much so that you trip over the step that’s right in front of you.
Tim Bruno: We want to let you get over to mom and let her know the big news.
But just, having been in this process and part of this from a grassroots level now to this level of being in government, how, talk about how big of a. change this is going to be in terms of who’s in control of this legislature and the approach.
Cat Scott: I think the biggest change we’re going to see is in how this legislature operates with the civic process, right?
With how we conduct our meetings, with the civility, with transparency. You have to have your foundation solid before you can build anything on it. And that’s the foundation of [00:09:00] any municipality, any governing body. What’s interesting is I was down in the city last week attending a Department of Health review process of the Certificate of Need for the Care Center, which Infinite Care has put in, and watching that body operate compared to what I’ve seen the legislature, how that legislature’s operated over the last three years, it was amazing.
That’s what I want to see for Sullivan County. I want us to discuss things so civilly that people are just. Perhaps even bored to tears. Okay, bored. That’s what I’m really looking forward to. And And yeah, I think that’ll be the biggest change.
Tim Bruno: Let’s make government boring again.
Cat Scott: Is that the slogan?
Honestly, I think when it comes to politics, everyone pays attention to what’s happening on a national level, then on a state level, and then on a town level, or a village level. Very few people pay attention to what’s happening in the county unless you have what we’ve just had for the last three years.
And then everyone’s [00:10:00] paying attention because what happens on the county level is it’s dry stuff, you have to really be that kind of a person who really loves listening to the, the public works report about how they’re paving the roads or,it’s not stuff that really keeps people on the edge of their seat.
So hopefully we can do that for the people of Sullivan County again, they’ll see us operating as it. responsible adults and and they’ll find us quite boring.
Tim Bruno: But it does all impact your, you in the backyard and what’s going on in your neighborhood, your village or town.
Cat Scott: 100%. This is where you get government impacts you probably one of the fastest, quickest ways is how this happens. But yeah, we, I hope to keep it boring. Pat
Tim Bruno: Scott, who is the new legislator in Sullivan County for District 5. Thank you for joining us this morning.
Cat Scott: Thank you for having me.