My name is Kambri Crews, and I’m a business owner with experience in banking, law, event production, and publicity, and I would be honored for the opportunity to represent the residents of Cochecton.
I had a pretty wild childhood living “off the grid” in the deep woods of Texas. My deaf parents and I once lived in a one-room tin shed with no electricity, plumbing or running water. I know first-hand the toll addiction, mental illness, poverty and isolation can take on a family. Despite never attending college, through hard work & dedication I have been able to make a whole lot of lemonade out of some pretty sour lemons.
Having my business shut down for COVID motivated me to run for office. I realized that to save my livelihood and community, I needed to funnel my frustrations into tangible action and be part of the solution.
I believe my drive, dedication and breadth of my life experiences make me an ideal candidate for Town Council of Cochecton.
MISSION & VISION
Supporting the Volunteer Ambulance Corp.;
Transparency and inclusion on all town business;
Expanding public green spaces;
Attracting and supporting small businesses, particularly arts organizations; and
Preserving our history, landscape and natural resources.
An ancestry buff, I traced the history of my house and the Swiss-German immigrant who built it. His relatives still call Cochecton home. I also researched my family line which goes back to the original Dutch settlers of New York. My 9th great grandfather was a schepen in Kingston so you could say I’m following in his footsteps! My love of history is why preservation is of utmost importance to me.
VOLUNTEERING, ADVOCACY & RECOGNITIONS
* To help the Sullivan County community, under my own initiative, I created an interactive, user-friendly Google map of vaccination sites and volunteered at vaccination clinics. My efforts were profiled in the Sullivan County Democrat.
* Time Out New York named me one of NY’s Women of the Year for 2020 for work and advocacy during COVID.
* Received a 2020 Commendation Award by the State Senate for volunteer work and advocacy for small businesses during COVID.
* Volunteer mentor with Hour Children mentoring children whose parents are incarcerated.
* Volunteer with Fortune Society providing essential support to the formerly incarcerated, including housing assistance, job training, education and transitioning to civilian life.
* After the passing of the bill I helped write and lobby for, Deputy Majority leader Senator Michael Gianaris called me a “trusted leader in our small business community and a relentless advocate who approaches advocacy with a resilient spirit and a smile for all.”
PUBLIC SERVICE ACCOMPLISHMENTS
* As Membership Director of the NY chapter of the National Independent Venue Association (NYIVA / NIVA), I gained valuable experience working hand-in-hand with Sen. Chuck Schumer’s office on the bipartisan “Save Our Stages” bill and Shuttered Venue Operators Grant which was passed in December 2019.
* At the request of the Governor’s office, I wrote a detailed proposal for reopening that was approved by NY State counsel, the NY Dept of Health and the State Liquor Authority.
* In 2021, I helped craft and successfully lobbied for a bill that was passed by the NY State Senate. The bill protected small business owners in NY State from personal liability due to COVID-related commercial debts.
* Serve on the Small Business Advisory Council chaired by Deputy Majority Leader Senator Michael Gianaris.
Christian & I did ourselves a solid and booked a few nights away from the internet post-election. After volunteering on Election Day & a pit stop at QED to watch results, we trekked up to the Adirondacks for some fresh air, hiking & history.
Along the way, we stopped in Saratoga Springs where the Woman Suffrage Association was formed to pay some respects for my right to vote & tell them the good news about Kamala. Thanks ladies (& gents) who fought so hard to enact women’s sufffrage. I know that VP-elect Harris will make them proud. And as a fellow Gen-X(ish) career woman with no children, I’m stoked to have some representation.
At Lake Placid we stayed at the darling Van Hoevenberg Cabins, hiked a mountain (only 3100 elevation so not hard), walked around the lake, ate outside The Pickled Pig thanks to unseasonably warm weather, visited the 1980 Olympic cauldron and rode a bobsled roller coaster along the original 1932 bobsled track. We passed the training facility for bobsledders who were out warming up and practicing various exercises. Pretty neat. That night at the cabin the sky was clear to see the Milky Way & so many planets and stars. Dreamy.
On our way out of town we stopped at abolitionist John Brown Farm State Historic Site and burial grounds. The farm has acres of trails and a self-guided audio tour via calling a phone number. I studied the Civil War and Reconstruction at Columbia with historian and Pulitzer Prize winner Eric Foner for two years (2017 – 2019) so was very familiar with Bleeding Kansas and Harper’s Ferry. It was nice to bring history to life and share my knowledge with Christian who already knows so much about everything. It was a first for me to be able to school him. On the farm, we were entranced by the mirrored lake. You could actually see the moon in the reflection (I highly saturated one pic so it’s easier for you to spot).
From there we stopped in Saugerties for a hike along the Hudson River then Kingston where I showed Christian the church my Dutch ancestors founded in 1661. We left a prayer on their wall, popped into a book shop and then ran into Joe Garden. Running into an old comedy pal from NYC should be wild but I just knew I’d see him. I really did. The last time I made a random trek through Woodstock I ran into him, and when I suggested a stop in Saugerties I told myself I’d see Joe. Just turns out it was in Kingston instead. We had a great dinner then drove home in the dark so slowly and dodging deer but made it in time to catch Kamala Harris’s historic speech and also Biden.
We were there between fall and ski season so much was closed but the weather and hikes and history were all that we wanted and needed.
We’re back in the Catskills for some R&R after Christian’s taping*.
We took the dogs to the lake and tuckered them out, had dinner along the Delaware River looking for any remaining bald eagles, and have been enjoying the bucolic scenery and perfect September weather. I pulled over a few times so I could take pictures of places to paint.
I told Christian, “I think I’ll paint some iconic sites from around Sullivan County and make postcards or a 2021 calendar.” I thought that would be a fun challenge and give me a bit of a purpose to my painting.Today he forwarded an event scheduled at the Yasgur’s Farm (site of the legendary Woodstock Music Festival) later this month hosted by Zane Grey Plein Air. As I was registering, there was an optional “add-on” to enter “Paint Sullivan County” an online, juried competition. It runs through October and I can submit up to three paintings of, you guessed it, sites around Sullivan County.
It’s been a long time since the Universe handed me such a clear and simple sign like that, so you better believe I’m taking it. I signed up to enter the contest and now will be traipsing all over the Catksills looking for good spots to paint. Any Catskills folks with some recommendations or pictures to share, let me know!
If you’re interested in joining the Zane Grey Plein Air event at Yasgur’s, it’s on Sept 26th and just a hop skip from our Rock House where we could retire for some afternoon tea. I’ll probably sign up for the 2-day event in October at the Zane Grey Museum but want to wait and see what happens with the Coronavirus and opening up QED. Anyway, find them online here: ZaneGreyPleinAir.com
Aside from painting, we have a long overdue kitchen countertop replacement project underway. Our counter is actually just plywood. It’s meant to look like butcher block, I think, but it’s starting to rot around the sink and it’s honestly never felt like the most hygienic of surfaces. Thankfully it’s a small space and so not a lot of money or a complex job. Just pop out the old counter and replace it with this quartz stuff that looks clean and cool.
For work, I’ve been helping organize a press conference and rally on Thursday the 10t at 10AM at Newtown & 30th Ave in Astoria. Councilman Jimmy Van Bremer is confirmed. I’m hearing good rumors re: the proposal I wrote to the Governor’s office but don’t want to talk too much about it and jinx it.
I’m also a guest speaker for an event with the Texas Tribune Festival. I took part in this event back in 2013 or 2014, I think, and it’s well organized and chock full of interesting stuff. Take a gander and join me if you can. It says 9/25 now but I think it will actually be on 9/23. Pencil both in, I guess.
* Christian’s one hour stand up taping at QED went very well, thank the heavens. Victor Varnado directed and had a great crew of pros. Editing will begin soon and then…we don’t know. Will it air on Netflix, Amazon, YouTube or just on a loop at QED? Time will tell.
That’s it over here. What’s new with you?
I sent some Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez swag from the campaign events we held at QED Astoria to my niece. My niece is a proud feminist & soon-to-be voter in Missouri who loves her “bright and shiny new object”. You wear that
#NY14 pride well, young woman. #ShowMe #AlexandriaOcasioCortez