Checking Out The Candidates Among Our Incumbents...
REGIONAL – Some elected officials in our coverage area already know that they're going to run for reelection, although the reasons why vary. No one is pounding signs into the dirt quite yet, but especially incumbents are tossing their hats into the ring already, giving possible challengers plenty of time to suss out the territory before making their own decisions.
In Wawarsing, there are a slew of seats up this term including town clerk, justice and two councilmen: Dan Johnson and Terry Houck.
Johnson said he plans to run for another term, but doesn't know how the race will pan out overall.
"Who knows — it's too early," he noted.
Houck also plans to run in November, hoping to capture a fourth term.
As for the village, which also votes in November, mayor Jeff Kaplan is up for re-election, along with deputy mayor Ray Younger and trustee Francisco Oliveras.
Kaplan has been in office for thirteen years — four terms — and plans to continue on... providing there's still work to be done.
"My intention is to run again," Kaplan said, noting that his next term could be interesting and challenging what with the lack of a casino boom.
Trustee Oliveras and deputy mayor Younger both plan to run again as well. Oliveras has been on the board for eight years, while Younger has served for twenty-three, in various capacities.
As for county seats, two of our local legislators are up for re-election. TJ Briggs, who represents the Town of Wawarsing and Village of Ellenville, said he plans on running for a fifth term. As of press time, the plans of Craig Lopez, who represents the District 14 portions of the towns of Shawangunk and Wawarsing, were as yet unknown.
In the Rondout Valley, freshman county legislator Manna Jo Greene of Rosendale said that she feels like she's just hitting her stride.
"I didn't know ahead of time how much I would like it," she said, because what she had seen of the legislature was mostly grandstanding and political posturing during the public sessions. "It's a little different in the caucuses and committees where the real work gets done... I've found a niche that is very inspiring to me. I don't think I've been treated very well by the chairman, but I've been received very well by colleagues on both sides of the aisle. This is a place where I can make a difference."
Greene's district is in both Marbletown and Rosendale, where the incumbent supervisors also know they will be running for office again.
"I haven't thought about it a lot, but it's generally assumed that no one else wants it," said supervisor Michael Warren, who is wrapping up his second term in the job for Marbletown.
His colleague in Rosendale, Jeanne Walsh, is more enthused.
"I am more than considering it, I am going to run," she said. "I don't know what's going to be coming down the road in terms of challengers, but there are a lot of projects I'd like to see completed."
Among those are building a new town pool and finishing up improvements to the town's water infrastructure.
"I'd also like to see Marbletown move into the new town hall," Walsh added. "All of these are doable in 1-2 years, and I'm determined to see them completed."
In nearby Rochester, Carl Chipman also wants to see a few things through. When he first took office in 2008, "We had to fight the recession, hold everything together with duct tape. It's nice to finally be able to move forward," improving infrastructure and adding services.
Chipman added that the flooding of Route 209 should soon be over as a new bridge and related road and stream improvements are being put into place, and he believes that town residents may soon see high-speed internet in their homes. He's also been eying ways to bring water and sewer to Main Street in Accord, and make it again a commercial center.
"It's starting to all fit in," he said.
County legislator Lynn Archer did not return calls for comment.
In the Town of Crawford, all of the incumbents — town clerk Jolene Roy, highway superintendent Larry Marshall, and town councilpersons Sue Jackowski and Rob Sassi, are Republicans, and all expressed interest in running again. Neither town justice seat is up for election this year.v
The only elected Democrat in the area to buck this, Orange County legislator and school board member Roseanne Sullivan, also appears ready to run again.
In the Town of Shawangunk, another Republican enclave, supervisor John Valk, town clerk Jane P. Rascoe and highway superintendent Michael J. Eggelton, as well as town councilmen Brian Amthor and Robert Miller, and town justice Mike Voss, all said they are likely to run again, although none were committing one hundred percent yet.
Over in Mamakating, meanwhile, single term supervisor Bill Herrmann has all but declared his intentions to run with a much-publicized missive against election fraud. No word has been heard yet from incumbent council people Russ Wood and Robert Justus, or regarding the town clerk position. Both Justus and Wood were elected before Herrmann and a slate of Democratic and Rural Heritage Party candidates swept into office two years ago.
Yes, it's early to be looking at such things. But elections are important to our local towns... and the stuff with which our democracy, and republic, is made.