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Karen LoBracco makes case for Monroe County legislature

by Kari Ashworth - News Editor
Tue, Oct 22nd 2019 09:05 pm
Karen LoBracco visited The College at Brockport for the Understanding Monroe County series on Thursday, Oct. 10, to pitch her case for county legislature.
Karen LoBracco visited The College at Brockport for the Understanding Monroe County series on Thursday, Oct. 10, to pitch her case for county legislature.

The College at Brockport hosted Karen LoBracco Thursday, Oct. 10, as part of the Understanding Monroe County series. LoBracco is running as a Democrat for county legislature. 

LoBracco grew up near Buffalo, New York. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in health education at SUNY Cortland and a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in corporate financial management from Pace University. 

Much of LoBracco’s work is based in the community. After obtaining her bachelor’s degree, she worked as a health educator. She has also worked at a peer review organization, working with physicians to ensure spending was also providing good care to patients. For over 22 years, LoBracco worked as a religious educator and she moved to Brockport to work on a regional basis as a consultant to several congregations. She also was a Girl Scout leader for many years, as well as an administrative leader at the organization, and she was a foster parent for six years. Currently, LoBracco is on the Zoning Board of Appeals for the Village of Brockport.

Prior to deciding to run for office, LoBracco learned as much as she could about the position through fellow workers. She believes the best way to learn is through experience.

“For part of my preparation for running for this office, I made a point of talking to county employees,” LoBracco said. “I went on a couple of ride arounds with the sheriff because I wanted to get a sense of how that works and what it looks like from another point of view. And so I always find those are the people that know, the people that are actually doing the work.”

Following LoBracco’s initial presentation, she opened the floor for questions. 

Zach Stones, a freshman at The College at Brockport, pointed out LoBracco’s lack of concrete plans.

“So you seem to focus more on the values that lead to your policies — though I have no doubt that you do have policies and that other candidates do have values — is that approach more or less effective in a way? I’m not sure exactly how I want this to go across, but just as your five main pillars were more ideals than they were policy changes, right?” Stones asked.

LoBracco countered by explaining she is running against another candidate with no record. The current county legislator has reached his term limit, therefore she cannot necessarily say she opposed one policy or another implemented by her opponent. 

“I’ve also found that it’s very seldom that issues are simple,” LoBracco said. “They’re usually all sorts of layers. For me, I can be most honest when I’m speaking about how I would approach things, and what I think is important and my values about that, and how I would decide, rather than being overly specific when it’s overly simplistic. Values shape how I look at the world and how I would approach the work of a legislator.”

Mariama Sarr, a senior at the college, took the time to ask LoBracco what changes she would implement that would make college students want to stay in Brockport and Monroe County as a whole. 

“So I guess one thing I noticed is that there’s a big disconnect between Brockport students and, of course, Brockport residents, which I believe makes it less desirable for Brockport students to stay in the Brockport area,” Sarr said. “What is one way you can change so it makes it more welcoming for students that are not from Brockport to stay in Brockport?”

LoBracco believes ensuring off-campus students have quality housing options is important, as well as ultimately getting the village and the college to coordinate more. 

“The Village of Brockport would not be what it is without the college and yet sometimes it feels like the residents endure this, the students,” LoBracco said.

Sarr responded she has felt a disconnect from the village during her time at the college. LoBracco explained she had heard students of color particularly have gotten comments from the community that did not sit well with them. However, LoBracco said she is not afraid to have these uncomfortable conversations.

LoBracco ultimately decided to run for county legislature to represent change.

“I think it’s important that people have a choice,” LoBracco said. “And that’s not something that’s foundational to me, but that also really seems to resonate when I talk to the voters, that they get to have a choice.”

New this year to election season in New York is early voting, and there will be a shuttle in front of Rakov Center at the college to take voters to Ogden Town Hall on Saturday, Nov. 2, and Sunday, Nov. 3. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 5.

Photo of the Week

Taken by Mathieu Starke, staff photographer

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