Republicans in Gardiner agreed upon a slate of town candidates on August 17 without controversy and without any formal votes being cast, as only one individual sought the nomination for most positions. In fact, that slate was a bit light, as there are two town council seats up for grabs, but only one Republican seeking to take one.
As is the case in many Hudson Valley towns, Republican enrollment in Gardiner has been whittled away by the northern migration of New York City dwellers who are more likely to be registered Democrats if they belong to a party at all. Only about 30 people were in attendance for the caucus, and the five-seat Republican committee has two openings. Registered Democrats outnumber them by about 400 in the town. Party leaders implored those in attendance to help out during the campaigns.
Marybeth Majestic will be seeking a second term as town supervisor, and she will be joined on the GOP line by a number of other incumbents and one name familiar enough voters might think he’s one himself. They include Brian Stiscia, who if he wins in November will serve his first-ever four-year term as highway superintendent; town clerk Michelle Mosher, who has been in office for 21 years; and justice Bob Rich, seeking his second term. Jack Hayes, who has previously been both supervisor and county legislator, will be the sole Republican running for a town council seat.
Mike Boylan, who nominated Mosher for clerk, called her “that smiling face . . . people walk into the office and see.”
Mosher has served in many other town jobs, including administrative positions serving the supervisor, building department, and board of assessment review. “I don’t care what your party is,” she said, and treats each town resident with courtesy and professionalism.
Stiscia, according to the nomination offered by Dennis McKutcheon, has a “sense of dedication and pride” for his work. “It manifests in how he manages his budget, ensures safety on the job, plans for future projects, and manages his staff.”
The lifelong resident spoke of starting “at the bottom of the highway department,” and said he was “humbled” to be given the nod again. He also acknowledged that the job isn’t the same as it once was: “The weather’s changed dramatically” in the 21 years he’s served, he said, with more incidents of violent weather in all seasons.
Bob Rich’s dedication to the community by volunteering for multiple organizations was highlighted by Joe Apuzzo. Rich himself called his first term a “real learning experience” which his training as an attorney did not provide him. “I will treat you fairly and impartially,” he said.
Conservative party chair Jack Hayes will be seeking the town council seat. He made a commitment to foster involvement by young people in town government, even saying that he would gladly stand aside from running should a young adult want the seat instead. As there are two open seats, it’s unlikely Hayes would be asked to step aside unless two young people appeared, but he intends on recruiting from the next generation for volunteer boards, as well. His particular issues are to roll back five-acre zoning which he feels makes homes too costly for young people, and to bring back the voices of farmers into local government.
Majestic touted the return of open government under her watch, and spoke about how multi-year budgeting and planning have kept the future of Gardiner on an even keel. Her version of open government is to allow public comment after each and every agenda item discussed at town board meetings. “I have always listened to what people have to say,” she said.
Election day is Nov. 7.