Betsy was born and raised in Ulster County, New York. Her father, Frank, came to the United States from the Netherlands in 1941 as refugees after their family business was seized. Betsy’s mom Susan was born while her father, Jack, served in the Navy in World War II. He was wounded at Normandy and received the Purple Heart for his service.
Betsy’s history of activism started early. She attended her first March on Washington at the age of 15, riding a chartered bus from SUNY New Paltz. In high school, she started her high school’s chapter of Amnesty International. After receiving her bachelor’s degree at “public Ivy” SUNY Binghamton, she was awarded an assistantship to attend SUNY New Paltz’s masters in English program.
When her twin sons were born prematurely (27 weeks), Betsy left her job as membership director at Girl Scouts of Ulster County to stay home with them. Together, the family learned about social programs from WIC to early intervention to Medicaid waiver, and the boys made great progress with the help of wonderful providers.
Like many women, Betsy found herself struggling financially after her marriage ended. She worked a series of jobs, from finishing ceramics to grading tests to cleaning offices. In 2017, she returned to school for a Master’s Degree in social work. Her experience with social programs and a desire for a more equitable society made the field a natural fit for her. She became a social worker both to help those in need find assistance and to build sound policy to allow communities to thrive.
Betsy decided to run for Assembly because there should be greater diversity at higher levels of government. The people of New York State need representation which reflects their best interests, not the interests of the donor class. Her experience as a tenant in public housing and as an advocate for marginalized groups makes her an ideal candidate to represent working families, the disabled, elders, and other vulnerable populations, like the LGBTQ+community.
Betsy has volunteered for various progressive candidates, including Gareth Rhodes (New York CD-19),Juan Figueroa (Ulster County Sheriff) and Dave Clegg (Ulster County District Attorney). Her platform positions are centered on the idea that all people deserve the same quality of life. All people deserve health care. All people deserve access to educational opportunities. All workers deserve protections. Our value as people is not defined by a job title or income.
To follow Betsy’s campaign, find her on Facebook (Betsy Kraat for Assembly), Twitter (@betsy4assembly), and Instagram (Betsy Kraat for Assembly). Scroll down for her ActBlue link! We love volunteers—send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.