Candidate Profile: Heather Waters for District 10
Through our profile series, we’ve already met Jana Rogers running in District 5 and Matt Johnson running in District 3. Today, we are heading over to the eastern side of the county to get to know Heather Waters.
Heather Waters is a working mom running in District 10, which includes the vast majority of the Town of Manlius including the villages of Manlius, Fayetteville, and most of Minoa and Kirkville. The incumbent legislator for the district, Republican Kevin Holmquist, is not seeking re-election. Heather currently serves as a Manlius Town Councilor and, based on her experiences in that role, she is ready to serve a larger capacity in our county. Read our conversation with Heather below:
What do you love about your neighborhood and community in District 10?
HW: We are a connector community situated in between bustling businesses and farmland, and many of us are within walking distance to a park with fresh water. We have a history that includes women’s suffrage and renewable energy – did you know that the Ledyard Canal powered our local mills? I am powered by coffee and tea, so I feel lucky that we have a number of local spots along village sidewalks like Soleil Café, Spill The Tea, Café Kubal, and SkyTop Coffee.
Why are you running? What have been your main sources of inspiration or motivation to run for County Legislator?
HW: I am thrilled to be running with the wonderful slate of Democratic candidates. I am a working mom and member of the LGBTQ+ community who will bring a fresh voice and new representation to District 10. Serving as a Town Councilor is an honor. The board's focus has been on transparency, comprehensive planning, and sustainability and we have worked hard to reach those goals. I will bring the same determination and values to the County Legislature. Residents should feel like they can tell legislators how they feel about the County’s $1B+ budget and how the millions given to the county in American Rescue Plan funding will be deployed.
We can keep up pushing our economic development opportunities forward while doing a better job of supporting working families and independent businesses. I’ll use my mediation training to be an effective collaborator and I will look at issues by how they impact health and equity. Dana Balter had such clarity of vision and purpose, and I credit her with giving me the confidence to run for office. She galvanized and encouraged so many of us to make change. I believe that the skill sets gained by working or volunteering for not-for-profits are transferable to campaigns. I want to encourage a new generation of women who give so much of their lives to advocacy to consider pursuing elected or appointed service positions.
As a leader, what are you most excited to advocate for members of your district?
HW: Three specific things come to mind: Crisis intervention collaborations (with law enforcement, our health department and school districts); food waste composting with OCCRA (think of the savings for the County if we could reduce hauling 15% of our trash to the landfill!); and making sure our local residents and workforces are the winners in the improvements to I-81.
Do you have family life or any other personal biographical information you'd like to mention? Does your family live in Onondaga County?
HW: I am grateful for the perspectives from my family in Central New York. My husband, Sterling, our son Riley, and I lived in Syracuse when we moved back to the area in 2013. A few years later, we moved back to Fayetteville to live near my mom, aunt and cousin. My sisters are retired from healthcare and the U.S. military and live in Phoenix and Baldwinsville. My niece and her family live on Onondaga Hill. My niece is a nurse at Crouse and her husband works for Solvay Electric and as a Liverpool Police officer. My roots are in Central New York, and I am so happy to be back. I love that my son is going to the same elementary school I went to!
What is your favorite local summertime activity?
HW: Count me in as a huge fan of Jamesville Beach dog park. We take our dog, Zelda, to run around and get extra muddy. My other must-dos: open-air concerts and food trucks. I’ll never forget the treat I ate once: watermelon chunks dotted with Pop Rocks and cayenne!
Heather with her Aunt Rita, cousin Eleanor, and mother Alexandra at the Manlius 4th of July Parade.
Heather is excited to show us how much the Onondaga County Legislature impacts our daily life, and we are so excited to get her there! See below for a few key ways you can get involved with Heather’s campaign:
Volunteer! Check out Heather’s campaign website at www.electheatherwaters.com and fill out the volunteer form to see how you can support Heather in a way that works best with your life and schedule.
Donate! Give monetary support to Heather and her campaign through this link.
Thank you to Heather Waters and her entire campaign team for participating in this profile and leading the way forward in District 10. Be on the lookout for future profiles coming out soon!
Read more about Heather here:
Heather works as an Assistant Dean for Advancement at Syracuse University and volunteer mediator. She serves on the Advisory Council of OCM BOCES Innovation Tech High School, and advocates alongside LGBTQ+ youth and people with disabilities. Born and raised in Onondaga County, Heather lives in Fayetteville with her husband, Sterling Waters, and their 9 year-old, Riley.
As a Councilor in the Town of Manlius, Heather represents more than 30,000 residents. She was elected to the Manlius Town Board in 2019 and invites residents with young families and newcomers to participate in government. Heather authored the updates to the Town’s public meeting rules and launched the Open Podium public comment program. She Chairs the Personnel and Employee Relations Committee, serves as Co-chair of the Comprehensive Plan Committee, the Tree Commission, and she is the liaison to the Assessment Department.