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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, June 11, 2009

In Guilderland: Will Golden rule? 

By Anne Hayden

GUILDERLAND — Peter Golden, a former Guilderland School Board member, neither Republican nor Democrat, is considering a run for town supervisor with Republican endorsement.

Golden, a self-employed writer, served one term on the school board, but otherwise does not identify himself as a “professional politician.” He is, in fact, not enrolled with any political party. “But I think people are tired of professional politicians; I know I am,” he said.

The chair of the Guilderland Republican Committee, Ted Danz, said it does not matter that Golden is not enrolled as a Republican, and the committee will not ask Golden to enroll. According to Danz, political parties do matter, but are not the priority.

“I wanted the right person, and I wouldn’t care if he was a Democrat, I’d still back him,” said Danz. He described Golden as an academic, and a civic-minded, long-time Guilderland resident. “He can talk the talk, and walk the walk,” he said.

Petitions are currently being circulated by the GOP to put Golden on the ballot.

Several people sought him out and suggested he run for supervisor, Golden said, something he found flattering. He has been thinking about the process and researching the hot topics, but does not yet have specific ideas for a potential platform, he said.

“I want to make sure I thoroughly understand everything that’s going on in the town before I take that step,” Golden said.

The obviously important focus is the need to make decisions on how to move forward financially, according to Golden.

Golden, who said he has never met current Democratic Supervisor Kenneth Runion, and has nothing against him, hopes to avoid “some sort of partisan mud pie contest.”

Runion, who had not heard Golden was considering a run until The Enterprise told him yesterday, said he does not know much about Golden, other than hearing about his term on the school board.

Golden was elected on his first run in 2005 in a six-way race for three school-board seats. During a controversial three-year term, he spearheaded an examination of health insurance benefits that led to cost savings, and was often outspoken on other issues. He sought re-election in 2008, running independently in a five-way race for three seats; he came in last as the three candidates backed by the teachers’ union won.

Last summer, Golden was active in protests that packed school board meetings as Matthew Nelligan and another high school teacher objected to being transferred to the middle school. Republican councilmen Mark Grimm and Warren Redlich were also active in the protests. Nelligan, who left his middle school job the first week of classes in September to work for the Republicans in the state senate, is now a Republican candidate for the Guilderland Town Board.

“I think having an opponent will be good for the Democrats this year,” Runion said yesterday. Running unopposed in the last two elections resulted in a low voter turnout, which Runion said he believes resulted in Republicans Redlich and Grimm winning seats on the town board. Runion is seeking a sixth two-year term.

“Voters will also be able to compare and contrast my actions on the town board, and Golden’s actions on the school board, and compare our fiscal records,” said Runion. He said an opponent will provide him with the ability to debate more of the central issues.

Golden said he views involvement in local politics as more of a community service than a profession, “This is important because it has such a deep impact on the people who live closest to you,” he said.

Golden said he will not announce a decision until the petition period is over, which, according to Danz, is July 1.

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