Meet Gary Rosa: Wants to serve more of county

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By Trish Adams
In his 20 years of serving as one of the Town of Middletown’s two town judges, Gary Rosa remarks ironically that of the cases he sees, the fewest come from his own home valley in New Kingston. “If you could bottle what we have in New Kingston, there might not be a judgeship to run for,” he remarks. Rosa, a multi-generational native of the county, has raised his own four children in a hamlet where ties are strong, not just between natives and “newcomers,” but also between generations. 

“It’s a community where I not only know what’s going on with my teenagers, we all know each others’ kids and treat them as our own. Whether your family has been there four months or four generations, you have to be a part of it.” While it is — happily — not the makings of a very crowded criminal court calendar, Rosa says his own experience speaks to his deep need at this point in his life to do more, and give back to his region and his community, even more so than his two decades serving his neighbors from town court. 

“Domestic violence cases, especially when they involve children, are undoubtedly the hardest I have to deal with,” he says, as well as the disheartening fact that the faces may change, but the cases largely have not over the past 20 years: “It’s substance abuse, and still substance abuse, although things may have shifted from marijuana for instance, to harder prescription drugs, it’s essential the same problems we face in this region, year after year.” 

Although he cannot run to fulfill Judge Becker’s appointment as Acting Supreme Court Justice, Rosa sees that as an advantage, since it would give him more time to preside over the three county-level courts: family, surrogate and the criminal case court.
Rosa promises a philosophy from the bench of an impartial referee who doesn’t let his own passions intervene. His motto is “Temperament. Efficiency. Fairness.”

Seeks the same rules
“I want to make sure everyone is playing by the same rules and let the experts — say, for instance, the social counselors in drug court — do their jobs. My job is to see that cases are decided fairly and that they get decided and not dragged out in one adjournment after the other.” And while Rosa acknowledges that Judge Becker will have more of certain kinds of experience, he maintains he has deep experience too, just from a different bench, but equally valid to help him do the county-level job well. “You have good days and bad days, but never from the bench. You want to present a nice even temperament that helps people through a stressful experience, never Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”
Rosa decided to run for county judge in the days after Hurricane Irene, when he saw people he knew, and some of whom he’d sentenced to jail, come and help rake out the ankle-deep muck in his town offices. “It really makes you want to give something back to those folks.” 

Meet Gary Rosa:
Currently: Judge, Middletown Town Court (20 years)
Raised in Dry Brook area of the Town of Middletown
Margaretville Central School Class of 1978 
SUNY Plattsburgh, Albany Law School 
General and family law practice, Margaretville, 1988
Family: Lori Rosa, Global History teacher at Walton High School, four grown children: Ryan, 26, First Lieutenant in the Marine Corps, Afghanistan; Brendan, 25, an Army Reservist; Andrew, 22, a graduate in Architecture from Wentworth Institute of Technology and Katie, 19, a Denison University freshman.
Immediate Past President of the Delaware County Bar Association 
Free Masons of New York State 
Pro bono Counsel to the Margaretville Fire Department
Board member of The MARK Project
Former board member and president, Margaretville Memorial Hospital
Likes to hunt, fish, and make maple syrup