William Murray and KT Tobin will be seated as trustees of the Village of New Paltz on June 1. Each received over 100 votes more than any of the three other candidates vying for the two open seats. They will replace Rebecca Rotzler, who is the present deputy mayor, and Thomas Rocco, who did not seek reelection. Also running were tenants’ rights activist Celeste Tesoriero and SUNY student Galo Vasquez.
At fire station 1, the site of the voting, witnesses were ceremonially locked in as the count began. In addition to village clerk Alberta Shaw and her staff, on hand were other officials including a town police officer and Ulster County Republican Elections Commissioner Tom Turco. Asked about his attendance, the commissioner said he was “in the neighborhood” and wanted to assist Shaw during her first election as clerk.
Tobin, a sociology professor, is a former school board trustee and member of the village’s affordable housing board. She said that she was “thrilled” that her campaign was “quite successful,” garnering her the highest vote total at 376. “I can’t wait to get to work,” she said after the tally was announced, but noted that much may change before she assumes office. In particular, she anticipates more clarity on the village’s backup water supply by that time.
Murray, an arts administrator and current planning board member, touted his fiscal management experience during the campaign. He called the win a “total surprise,” as “I’ve never run for anything before, and I’m the first member of my family to win” an election. He added that he was looking forward to this “ongoing service.” Murray received 300 votes.
Rotzler is finishing up the second of two non-consecutive terms on the board, making her the longest-serving current board member. She received 191 votes, but was not available for comment.
Vasquez, a SUNY student in his fourth year, placed housing and water as his top priorities. Vasquez received 136 of the votes cast, and was not available for comment after the results were announced.
Tesoriero, founder of the New Paltz Tenants Union, is an attorney who positioned herself as champion of tenants’ rights. She noted that some of her supporters were deemed ineligible because they did not live in the village, “but that’s legit” as a reason for disqualification. She received 126 votes.
Write-in votes were cast naming two unsuccessful 2015 mayoral candidates: entrepreneur Amy Cohen got two, and former mayor Jason West received one.