Meet Aileen

In November 2003, Aileen Gunther was elected to fill the vacancy created by the untimely death of her husband Assemblyman Jake Gunther. She represents the 98th Assembly District, including all of Sullivan County and parts of Orange County — including the cities of Middletown and Port Jervis and the towns of Deerpark, Greenville, Minisink and Wawayanda.

Aileen grew up in Orange County, received her nursing degree from Orange County Community College, and studied liberal arts at the State University of New York at New Paltz. She is a registered nurse and the former Director of Performance Improvement and Risk Management for Catskill Regional Medical Center. She has 29 years experience in the health care field — including service in surgery, obstetrics, mental health, and emergency departments.

As a result of her health care expertise, Aileen was named a member of the Sullivan County Local Emergency Preparedness Council following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. To combat the increasing number of cases of HIV and AIDS in Sullivan and Orange counties, Aileen became a member of the AIDS Task Force in 1996 and has been a trained HIV Counselor since 1998. Aileen was also a past member of the Monticello Parent-Teacher Association.

Aileen’s other professional affiliations and accomplishments include: National Certification in Infection Control; Vice-President of the Mid-Hudson Chapter of Association of Infection Control Practitioners; President of the Mid-Hudson Chapter of Infection Control Preparedness; and New York State Government Liaison for the Mid-Hudson Chapter of Infection Control Practitioners.

Aileen is committed to improving the quality of life for Sullivan and Orange County families by working to expand access to quality, affordable health care; provide a top-notch education from pre-K to college; and create and retain first-rate jobs for our families.

Aileen has successfully fought to lower the local tax burden on working families and improving the local economy. She helped eliminate the marriage penalty and the sales tax on clothing under $110. Additionally, she helped create a child tax credit and fought to cap the sales tax on gasoline. She has authored a law to provide a real property tax credit to help communities attract and retain volunteer firefighters (Chap. 189 of 2005).

As the chair of the Assembly Subcommittee on Women’s Health, Aileen has worked to raise awareness of cancer and heart disease. To ensure families have access to quality health care she’s introduced legislation to end mandatory overtime for nurses, require a circulating nurse in every emergency room, and force health insurance companies to provide coverage for prosthetics. In addition, Aileen authored a new law that allows nurses to supervise the withdrawing of blood in emergency rooms to help hospitals meet staffing needs as well as prosecute drunk or drug-impaired drivers (Chap. 618 of 2006).

Aileen is devoted to preserving the beauty of the Hudson Valley which in turn fosters tourism and improves the local economy. She secured over $1 million to promote the new Bethel Performing Arts Center at the historic Woodstock location. She also sponsors the Sullivan Renaissance annual Golden Feather Award.

In response to local safety concerns over flooding, Aileen:

  • authored a law to increase dam safety by ensuring localities receive copies of dam inspection reports (Chap. 17 of 2006);


  • participated in hearings to help develop a statewide disaster emergency plan;


  • successfully worked with officials from FERC and Mirant to repair the Swinging Bridge Dam;


  • worked with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection to institute a new spill reduction program at the Neversink Reservoir to reduce flooding.

To further protect our quality of life, Aileen co-sponsored a law to protect homeowners from eminent domain seizure under New York Regional Interconnect’s power line proposal. Aileen is opposed to the NYRI proposal as it would have a devastating impact on homeowners and the environment.

Aileen and her husband raised their three children in the rural Sullivan County hamlet of Forestburgh. Aileen is the proud mother of three grown children and one granddaughter: Mary Alice, married to Ben Reimer, and their daughter Scarlett; Jacob IV, and Caitlin. Aileen is honored to carry on the Gunther tradition of service to the families of Sullivan and Orange counties.

Awards and Honors:

  • The River Reporter readers’ vote - "Favorite Politician"- 2007


  • New York Farm Bureau - Circle of Friends - 2006


  • Sullivan County School Boards Association - Outstanding Friend to Education - 2006


  • Appreciation for Support of the Children of the Middletown City School District - 2006


  • Certificate of Appreciation - The Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs of Sullivan County - 2006


  • Award of Appreciation - Mulberry House Senior Center – 2006


  • Recognition from Even Start Family Literacy Program - 2006


  • Certificate of Appreciation - Sullivan County Veteran's Service Agency - 2005


  • Catskill Business & Professional Women's - Woman of the Year - 2005


  • PEF Award of Excellence – 2005


  • Action Toward Independence - Angel Award - 2004


  • Certificate of Appreciation - Monticello Rotary Club – 2004