BATAVIA — A tough act to follow.
But, says Julie Carasone, she is prepared to move the Conservative Party in Genesee County forward.
Carasone was unanimously chosen to replace party founder and chairperson Arthur Munger during a meeting at the old county courthouse Saturday.
Carasone, of Stafford, served as secretary of the party for two years.
Munger was one of the founders of the party in 1972 and has served two terms as chair: 1972-1980 and from 1988 to the present.
Carasone officially takes over in September.
The following is a question and answer with Carasone:
Q: Tell us about your background.
A: I grew up all over the world. My father was in the Army for 32 years and we were stationed in various parts of the world. I graduated from ULM American HS in Neu Ulm Germany. We have always considered WNY our home, as my father grew up in Corfu and my mom grew up in Albion. I recently graduated from GCC with a Human Services Degree and I am currently attending Southern New Hampshire University for my bachelor’s degree. My goal is to get my Doctorate in Human Services and focus on Trauma Informed Care. My position right now is Cultural Competence and Health Literacy Operations Specialist for Lake Plains Community Care Network and I work with several agencies in Genesee County, to help put in place strategic plans to help increase health literacy and cultural competence. This is done so that those individuals in our most vulnerable communities can get the appropriate health care or resources. I am also a trainer in several areas of Implicit Bias, Trauma Informed Care, Cultural Competence, and Health Literacy. Because of the work I do, our agency recently won a service award from the Batavia Business and Professional Women’s Club. I am very proud of this award. My dad and mom are retired Colonel Daniel Bolas and Deborah Bolas. I have a sister and brother. I have two daughters, Felicia White and Gabrielle Crespo and a granddaughter Alice White.
Q: How did you get involved in the Conservative Party and why?
A: I have been a member of the Conservative Party since I was 18. My views came a lot from my Babcia (polish grandmother), my parents and even my Democrat grandparents. They were always telling us to use our right to vote and be involved in the political process.
I got involved because of John Roach. John is heavily invested in the community and faithfully goes to almost every council meeting and voices his opinion or concerns. We would get into some debates on a local FB page where I would let him know of the barriers that people had in getting to council meetings. We went back and forth many times, but then became friends after debating many issues. When we became friends, we found out that we had more in common than differences, and he asked me if I would be interested in getting involved more and helping out the Conservative party.
I always liked politics and didn’t know how the inner workings worked when it came to choosing a candidate, so I said “Why not?” I have enjoyed it ever since. I have met former Congressmen, State Senators, legislatures, judges and council members. I wouldn’t have been able to do this, if I wasn’t involved with the Conservative Party.
Q: You are replacing Art Munger, any comments on how he has served the party?
A: Art Munger was one of the founders of the group. He is a wealth of knowledge as many of the current members. Art knows the bi-laws or election laws like the back of his hand. I am looking forward to working with him during this transition and learning from one the best, so that when I officially take over the position in September, I am prepared to move our party forward.
Q: What are your plans for the party and what would you like to see happen in the future?
A: My goals are to get more people involved, especially the younger generation, people of color and women For instance, my daughter Gabrielle, is Hispanic and will be voting in the election for the first time this year. I want her and her peers to see how it all works and how important elections are, especially local elections. We cannot move forward and make changes, if we don’t have their voices and hear what they have to say. They are the ones that can make the difference and we have to hear them out and we in the Conservative party are willing and able to listen.
Party members also voted to retain John Roach as chairperson and Robert Lovria as treasurer.
The secretary position remains open.
Anyone interested in the position can contact Carasone at email@example.com or contact the party at P.O. Box 1686, Batavia, NY 14020 or visit the party’s Facebook page.