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Hilltown Archives The Altamont Enterprise, May 21, 2009
In Hilltowns: Anderson for Berne super
By Zach Simeone
HILLTOWNS The Albany County Conservative Party has made its picks, endorsing candidates for the fall elections. The Conservative Party’s list of endorsed contenders for the Hilltowns features a mix of both Republicans and Democrats, including Carolyn Anderson for Berne supervisor.
While Hilltown enrollment in the Conservative Party is low, the line gives voters enrolled in major parties another choice, and so is frequently sought.
Current Berne Supervisor Kevin Crosier will not be running for re-election this fall, and will be replaced on the Conservative line by Anderson, a long-time Berne resident who was elected to the Berne-Knox-Westerlo School Board on Tuesday. Anderson told The Enterprise this week that she will also be seeking endorsement from the Democratic Party in the supervisor race.
Rensselaerville Supervisor Jost Nickelsberg, who previously held the Conservative line, will not be running either, and no candidates from Rensselaerville have approached the Conservative Party for support, according to Conservative Party Chairman Richard Stack.
The Conservative Party’s 11 executive committee members met Thursday, May 14, to make their picks. The executive committee interviewed 204 people between May 4 and May 6, including county officials, said Stack.
In picking its candidates, the committee looks for “leadership, fiscal responsibility, willingness to accept open government, and achievements, as well as their vision for the future, and how they plan to accomplish their goals,” Stack said.
“Open government today means elected officials willing to return a call and discuss things with all constituents of the area they cover,” Stack said. “There’s a lot going on with municipalities trying to gag people trying to speak out, putting time limits on public comments at board meetings, going into executive sessions and locking out the public. Meetings should be run in such a way that issues are discussed openly, and not just slam-dunked with a vote.”
“I have been supervisor for eight years,” Crosier said this week, “and have loved every minute of it, but I’ve had other opportunities come before me, so, I don’t want to run for supervisor and then end up having to leave that post.”
Two weeks ago, Berne’s Republican Party chairperson, Peg Warner, said the GOP would not back Crosier again, as it had in the past two elections. He remains an enrolled Democrat.
Crosier would not yet go into detail on those opportunities, saying instead, “I’ve had some offers to do some other stuff in government, and I’m going to look at those.”
Anderson was presented with two opportunities, and accepted them both.
“I did not expect the timing of their announcement to be coincidental with the [school] board election,” Anderson said of the Conservative Party. She was approached about running for school board in early April, following Mary Jane Araldi’s withdrawal from the race.
“Given the encouragement of people I highly respect, I agreed to run [for school board] this year, rather than waiting until next year,” Anderson went on. “Then, within the last two weeks, I was approached to consider running for town supervisor. Again, this request came from several people for whom I have great respect and admiration. It is ironic how two such excellent opportunities can present themselves in such a short span of time.”
The Conservatives are backing Anderson as Crosier’s successor because of “her independence and her ability to coordinate and work with people,” Stack said this week.
“Crosier has set a pretty high bar for nearby town governments with his aggressive approach, without digging into the taxpayer’s pocket,” said Stack. “Before he ran, the town of Berne was in a dismal fiscal crisis; now the town has a surplus. We felt like someone who’s been independent and responsible, and so active in the school district, like Carolyn, would do well to follow in his footsteps.”
The Conservative Party has also endorsed a number of incumbents, including: Town Clerk Patricia Favreau; Councilmen Joe Golden and Wayne Emory; Town Justice Albert Raymond III; and Receiver of Taxes Gerald O’Malley. All are Democrats.
The Conservative Party has also endorsed Randy Rapp, a Republican, as its candidate for highway superintendent.
Nickelsberg, who has served one four-year term as Rensselaerville supervisor, was backed by the Conservative Party during his victory in the 2005 election.
“I’ve had my one term as supervisor, and I enjoyed that, but I’m going on to other things,” Nickelsberg said this week. “My full-time job, which is energy investment banking, is very busy right now, making it that much more difficult to do both. Plus, I have partners in my full-time job, and I’ve got to give them their due,” he said.
His work involves financial structuring for “emerging and growing oil and gas exploration companies,” Nickelsberg said.
He later added, “As you get older, it gets a little harder to put that kind of time in, when the full-time job continues to demand more and more of that time.”
The Conservatives have not endorsed any incumbents in Rensselaerville. In the race for town board, the party will back Bob Bolte, chairman of Rensselaerville’s Conservative Party, and Marion Cooke, also a conservative. Both have made their presence known at town board meetings, and have played active roles as watchdogs of the town government’s financial activity.
“A blind man could see how out of control Rensselaerville is,” Stack said.
The Conservatives will also back Donna Kropp, a Republican, and Michael Webber, a Conservative, as candidates for assessor.
In Knox, the Conservative Party has endorsed the following incumbents: Supervisor Mike Hammond, a Democrat; Councilman Dennis Decker, a Democrat; Town Clerk Kimberly Swain, a Republican; Highway Superintendent Gary Salisbury, a Republican; and Town Justice Jean Gagnon, a Democrat.
The party has also endorsed Travis Stevens, a Republican, in the race for town board. In 2007, Stevens ran for a seat in the Albany County Legislature, but lost in a landslide to long-time Democratic incumbent Alexander “Sandy” Gordon.
The Conservatives are not endorsing any candidates for the 2009 elections in Westerlo, where the Republicans had regrouped and put Clinton “Jack” Milner on the town board last fall. Democrats outnumber Republicans 3 to 1 in Westerlo.
Said Stack, “We had no candidates come forward.”