hill country observerThe independent newspaper of eastern New York, southwestern Vermont and the Berkshires


News & Issues November 2017


Election 2017


Here are ballot questions and candidates for major local races in the Nov. 7 general election in New York and Massachusetts. A brief summary follows the candidate list for each county.




State representative -- First Berkshire District
John Barrett III (D)
Christine M. Canning (R)

North Adams mayor
Thomas Bernard
Robert Moulton Jr.

The state representative race in the First Berkshire District is officially a special election to fill the seat of longtime Rep. Gailanne Cariddi, who died in June. The field of candidates was narrowed in a four-way Democratic primary last month, where Barrett, the former North Adams mayor, prevailed with 42 percent of the vote. The district encompasses nine municipalities from Lanesborough north to the Vermont border and, like the rest of Berkshire County, is heavily Democratic. Canning is an educational consultant from Lanesborough.
The nonpartisan race for North Adams mayor pits Moulton, a longtime city councilor and local business owner, against Bernard, a political newcomer who has been active in the community through his previous positions at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and Mass MoCA. Bernard, who now works at Smith College in Northampton, placed far ahead of Moulton and two other candidates in a preliminary election in September.
There are also city council races in both North Adams and Pittsfield, with candidates too numerous to list here.




Question 1: A Yes vote would call a convention to revise and amend the state constitution. If voters say yes, they would elect delegates to the convention in November 2018 and vote again in November 2019 to approve or reject any constitutional revisions proposed by the convention.

Question 2: A Yes vote would amend the state constitution to “allow a court to reduce or revoke the public pension” of a public official who is convicted of a felony that “directly relates” to the public official’s duties.

Question 3: A Yes vote would create a land bank to allow towns that need small amounts of protected forest land for essential public works projects to exchange equivalent amounts of land without having to come back to the Legislature to seek voter approval for each transaction.


State Supreme Court, 3rd Judicial District
(Columbia, Rensselaer and five other counties)
Peter G. Crummey (R, C, I, RF)
Julian D. Schreibman (D, WF)



* David P. Bartlett (R, C, I, RF)
Peter Volkman (D, WE, WF)

Roy Brown (R, C, I)
Andrea “Cricket” Coleman (D, WE, WF)

Claverack supervisor
Laura Miller (D, i)
* Kippy Weigelt (R, C, I)

Greenport supervisor
Kathy Leck Eldridge (D, WF, I)
* Edward F. Nabozny (R, C, RF)

Hudson 2nd Ward supervisor
Willette M. Jones (WF)
Abdus Miah (D, R, C, I)

Hudson 4th Ward supervisor
* William Hughes Jr. (R, C)
Linda Mussman (D, WF, I)

Stuyvesant supervisor
Melissa A. Naegeli (R, C, I)
Leigh Widjeskog (D, WF)

In the only high-profile countywide race, Bartlett is seeking a second four-year term as sheriff but faces a challenge from Volkmann, the village police chief in Chatham. The contest has highlighted what both candidates agree is a recent increase in violent crimes related to opioid use in the county.
Bartlett has called for increased drug-abuse prevention efforts in schools, but Volkmann argues this tactic hasn’t worked. Volkmann instead points to a program he has run in Chatham that provides amnesty to drug users who come to the village police station and instead helps users to get treatment.
Only five seats on the 23-member county Board of Supervisors are contested.



County court judge
Philip J. Danaher (R, C, RF)
Jennifer G. Sober (D, G, I, WE, WF)
County executive
Wayne G. Foy (G)
Steven F. McLaughlin (R, C, I RF)
Andrea J. Smyth (D, WE, WF)

North Greenbush supervisor
* Louis J. Desso (R, C, I, WF, RF)
Ronald M. Sinico (D, G, WE)

Poestenkill supervisor
Keith A. Hammond (D, WF, I)
* Dominic J. Jacangelo (R, C)

Sand Lake supervisor
William H. Hoffay (R, C, I)
Nancy W. Perry (D, WF)

Schodack supervisor
* Dennis E. Dowds (D, WF)
David B. Harris (R, C, I)

The race for the county executive position is the marquee contest in Rensselaer County, the more so because McLaughlin, a state assemblyman, defeated the Republican organization’s preferred candidate in a bitter September primary. Although no Democrat has ever been elected county executive, Smyth, the director of the nonprofit New York State Coalition for Children’s Behavioral Health, has sought to capitalize on Republican divisions and has kept the focus on an audiotape -- released before the September primary -- that features McLaughlin berating a female legislative aide.
Only four town supervisor positions in the county are contested. There are also multiple county legislative seats on the ballot, with candidates too numerous to list here.



Charlton supervisor
*Alan R. Grattidge (R, C, I)
Albert W. Wilson (D)

Greenfield supervisor
Elizabeth Fairbanks-Fletcher (D)
Deborah J. Hopkins (R, C, I)

Malta supervisor
William F. Breheny (D)
* Vincent R. DeLucia (R, C, I)

Mechanicville mayor
* Dennis M. Baker (R, C, I)
Anthony J. Sylvester Sr. (D)

Milton supervisor
Barbara A. Kerr (RF)
Scott T. Ostrander (R, C, I)

Moreau supervisor
Theodore T. Kusnierz Jr. (R, C, I)
Michael P. Linehan (D)

Saratoga Springs charter revision
“Shall the new city charter proposed by the city charter commission be adopted?”
A Yes vote would replace the current form of city government, in which each of the five members of the City Council have administrative control over a portion of the city’s day-to-day operations, with a more typical system of a mayor and a legislative city council as well as a professional city manager who would oversee all of the city’s adminstrative functions.
Saratoga Springs mayor
Mark E. Baker (R, C, I, RF)
Meg Kelly (D, WE, WF)

Saratoga Springs county supervisor (two seats)
Patricia A. Friesen (D, WF)
Tara N. Gaston (D, WE, WF)
Joseph A. Levy (G)
John F. Safford (R, C, I, RF)
Matthew E. Veitch (R, C, I RF)

Saratoga Springs public safety commissioner
Donald J. Braim (R, C, I, RF)
Peter R. Martin (D, WE, WF)

Saratoga Springs city judge
Andrew C. Blumenberg (R, C, RF)
* Francine Vero (D, WF, I, WE)

Wilton supervisor
Nancy E. Dwyer (D, i)
* Arthur J. Johnson (R, C, I)

The bulk of the action is in Saratoga Springs, where even the mayor’s race is taking second billing to the bigger question of whether to revamp the city’s form of government. (See the summary above.)
If the city charter revision passes, the changes to the city government would take effect in 2020. In the meantime, voters must choose a new mayor and public safety commissioner to succeed incumbents who are stepping down. In the mayor’s race, Kelly has campaigned in favor of the charter change, whilc Baker has opposed it.



Glens Falls mayor
Richard P. Cirino (G, i)
Timothy E. Guy (R)
Dan Hall (D, I, WE)

Glens Falls councilman-at-large
Robin M. Barkenhagen (G, i)
Jane R. Reid (R, I)

Glens Falls 1st Ward county supervisor
Jack Diamond (D)
Nancy L. Underwood (R, I, RF)

Glens Falls 4th Ward county supervisor
Karen Judd (R, I)
William A. Loeb (D, WE)

Queensbury town supervisor
Rachel Seeber (R, C, I, WE, RF)
* John F. Strough III (D)

Queensbury county at-large supervisor (four seats)
* Douglas Beaty (R, C, I RF)
Brad Magowan (R, I, RF)
* Matthew Sokol (R, I, RF)
David Strainer (D, C)
Michael Wild (R, I, RF)

In Glens Falls, Hall, the city’s councilman-at-large, is running as the heir to departing Mayor Jack Diamond. He faces Guy, a retired sheriff’s deputy, and Cirino, a co-founder of a group that promotes downtown events.
In Queensbury, Strough is seeking a third term but faces a strong challenge from Seeber, now an at-large county supervisor, in the predominately Republican town.



Cambridge supervisor
* Catherine Cassie Fedler (D, i)
Beaver Watkins (R)
Dresden supervisor
Paul D. Ferguson (R, i)
* George D. Gang (D)

Easton supervisor
Phil Nicholas (D, i)
* Daniel B. Shaw (R)

Salem supervisor
Evera Sue Clary (D, i)
Bruce M. Ferguson (R)

White Creek supervisor
James Griffith (i)
* Robert E. Shay (R)

Whitehall supervisor
John W. Rozell (R)
Peter J. Telisky (D)

Contrary to our October report, there actually are six contests for supervisor among the county’s 17 towns.
— Compiled by Fred Daley


C -- Conservative Party
D -- Democratic Party
G -- Green Party
I -- Independence Party
i -- independent (no party)
R -- Republican Party
RF -- Reform Party
WE -- Women’s Equality Party
WF -- Working Families Party
* -- incumbent