With the exception of the town supervisor seat, the Gardiner Republicans have put up candidates to challenge the Democrats in every single race this November.
At the Republican caucus held last Wednesday, a week after the Democratic caucus, the local party was given a brief pitch by veteran Ulster County Family Court judge Marianne Mizel. She pointed out that as a judicial candidate, she was not allowed to “talk about or endorse any candidate,” nor was she permitted to talk about “any case.” That said, the Republican judge did point to her record of having presided over “44,500 cases in my 20 years as a judge. This is a big county, and Family Court has a large caseload, and I’m proud to say that in my tenure I’ve only had seven cases reversed out of 44,500. I think that speaks pretty well about the job I’m doing. I love Family Court. I’m 59 years young and look forward to serving another 10 years, and appreciate your votes and your support.”
With that, the caucus was officially opened, and Mike Boylan made the first nomination for Michelle Mosher to be the Republican candidate for town clerk. Mosher, a Republican, was also nominated by the Democrats and will appear on both lines. “Michelle Mosher has served this community well for many years, and she’s an excellent asset to this community,” said Boylan. The nomination was seconded by Jim Freer, who said that “Michelle Mosher represents the Gardiner I grew up in.”
“It’s hard to believe I’ve been the town clerk for 18 years,” said Mosher, when asked to give a few remarks. “But I enjoy seeing the people of Gardiner every day, doing my best to serve them, and I look forward to serving another four-year term.”
Paul Mele nominated his son Carmine Mele to be put on the Republican slate for the position of town justice. That was seconded by his mother Emily. Mele currently serves on the Town Board, but has declined to run for reelection in order to pursue the seat of town justice. Mele thanked everyone “for coming out tonight and for your support,” saying that he appreciated the opportunity to serve his community as a Town Board member for four years and “hopefully I’ll get that opportunity to serve you in another capacity.”
Mele will be challenged for the town justice post by Democratic nominee Bob Rich.
Boylan made a second nomination, this time for Gary Upright to be the Republican candidate for the position of highway superintendent. “What Mr. Freer said about Michelle reminding him of the Gardiner he grew up in made me think about Gary Upright. When I first moved here, there was an interesting term: ‘the Gardiner boys.’ Well, Gary was one of those Gardiner boys, and is someone who is passionate about Gardiner. He runs his own business here, raises his family here; and when he does things, he does them right! He cares about Gardiner, and I nominate him for the position of superintendent of highways.” Boylan pointed to Upright’s experience in road construction and owning a successful local business as reasons why he would also make a good candidate for the position.
That motion was seconded, and Upright thanked “everyone for coming out and for your support. There’s a lot of stuff going on at the Town Garage, and I promise you that if I’m elected, you will see a new vision, new ideas and a serious change at the highway garage and the way things are being done.”
The caucus then turned to the two open seats on the Town Board up for grabs this November, with Republicans Mele and Rich Koenig opting not to run for another term on the Board. John Hinson was nominated by his wife for one of the two positions and seconded by Carmine Mele. “I’ve gotten to know John, and believe he would make a great addition to the Town Board,” said Mele.
Hinson, who is not enrolled in any party and lost a three-way race for the two open seats at the Democratic caucus to Laurie Willow and David Dukler, said that he “believes that Gardiner has a lot of great qualities that keep us all here. I’ve been watching everything from the sidelines for the past 12 years, and decided it was time for me to step up and get involved. I was appointed to the town’s ZBA [Zoning Board of Appeals] and the Open Space Committee, and I want to get more involved as a member of the Town Board and help to bring common sense and fiscal responsibility to the table.”
James Miller was the second candidate nominated and seconded for the other open position on the Town Board. He was praised for being a dedicated volunteer member of the Shawangunk Fire Department, serving as deputy chief, and he thanked “all my friends and family members for their support. I’ve been listening to a lot of people and hearing a lot of ideas, and many of them are really good ideas that I want to bring to the table. I’m ready for a good fight, so let’s get out there and do this!”
The floor was then opened up for any nominations for the position of town supervisor, to which no one responded. “That’s a shame,” muttered Pam O’Dell, not a fan of incumbent Gardiner supervisor Carl Zatz. Zatz was nominated by the Democratic caucus to be on that party’s slate, and as of now he is running unopposed.