Jeannette Rice, Rensselaerville town board candidate

Jeannette Rice

RENSSELAERVILLE — To be and remain a rural community requires pro-active work, according to Jeannette Rice. The Democratic candidate for town council sees a board role for supporting farms and small businesses.

“If we make a hard effort to inviting small business and cottage industry, that may help us,” said Rice of relieving the town’s fiscal pressures. “Definitely, building more houses doesn’t help because of the cost of community services.”

Rice, 63, is retired from a career as a middle-school health teacher in area districts.

Most recently appointed to the zoning board of appeals, with a term ending in December of 2016, Rice has held a variety of community positions. She has been a member of the Rensselaerville Ambulance squad and the Rensselaerville Fire Department. She is past president of the Rensselaerville Library and of the Rensselaerville Historic District Association.

Rice has worked on the town’s land-use planning committee that helped form the comprehensive plan and proposed zoning law of 2007, as well as its hydraulic fracturing research committee that recommended in its report that the town board pass a law to ban heavy industry, including natural gas and oil extraction, and coal mining and coal processing.

Asked whether she would recuse herself as a town board member voting on such a law, Rice noted the current board had already voted unanimously to accept the report.

“I would have to think about and discuss with the board whether I would recuse myself or not,” said Rice. “I don’t think it’s a conflict of interest. It’s not as if I’m making anything personally off of it.” Rice supports a ban on heavy industry.

Of the newsletter, Rice said many good ideas were suggested during a special meeting in August, but wouldn’t specify which she favored. She said, “People need to be afforded the opportunity to have a thorough discussion and come up with a proposal for the dissemination for town information,” which she counted as an important step towards government transparency.

“People really appreciate all the efforts of the board,” Rice said of the Rensselaerville Library and its trustees. “So we need to support that with our tax dollars.”

She said the disaster preparedness plan should be regularly updated and that current leadership in the town could do more to press the issue of cell-phone coverage for the hamlets of Preston Hollow and Potter Hollow.

In 2005, Rice was among a group of residents who opposed a radio tower proposed for a hill on Route 353 for its effect on the vista. She said she spoke in favor of another tower that now stands close to her home on Pond Hill Road in the hamlet of Rensselaerville.

Rice noted the confidential nature of some of the board of ethics meetings and said she has no knowledge of their proceedings.

Rice is an enrolled Democrat and has her party’s endorsement.

“I have never agreed to run for political office, and I agreed to run this time because I think I can add a thoughtful voice to town discussions,” said Rice. “And I think I have my ear on the pulse of the community.”

She called the cross endorsements of candidates for this election inappropriate.

“It wasn’t revealed to the Democratic voters at the caucus that they were accepting the Republican line….Where’s the choice?” asked Rice.

“We probably would have nominated other Democratic candidates,” she added.