Originally posted in Mid Hudson News.

WAPPINGERS FALLS — Former Executive Director of the New York State Bridge Authority and Town of Wappinger Supervisor Joseph Ruggiero kicked off his campaign for Dutchess County executive at Tomas Tapas Bar and Restaurant in Wappingers Falls.

The Democrat is challenging two-term incumbent Republican Marcus Molinaro.

Ruggiero thanked family and friends for their support as he makes the next big step in his political career.

“One measures their riches in life by their family and friends,” he said. “I feel like the wealthiest man in the world.”

He believes he is the most uniquely qualified for the job.

“I’m the only candidate in the race who has both public and private sector experience. I worked 10 years in the telecom business in management positions and for the last 20-something years I’ve held executive level positions in government,” he said.

One of those was as deputy state comptroller and current Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli was on hand to talk him up.

“I know being Dutchess County executive is a dream that Joe has had for a very, very long time, and being back in elective office is a dream that Joe has had for a very, very long time. He has done so much in life,” DiNapoli said.

The comptroller pumped up the crowd to create a greater “blue wave” in Dutchess County in anticipation of the 2020 presidential election.

“The numbers in Dutchess County have changed thanks to all of your efforts, but Democrats tend to be a little lazy in off-years,” he said. “The reality is this kind of race is a very important building block to the big task ahead of us next year.”