At their August 17 caucus, Shandaken Democrats chose Kevin Van Blarcum and incumbent Faye Storms as candidates for the two town council seats up for election in November. They will compete with Nancy Holgate, who was chosen last week, along with a cross endorsed Van Blarcum, a Democrat, to represent the Republicans in the race for town council.
Supervisor Rob Stanley and highway superintendent Eric Hofmeister also received endorsements from both the Democrats and the Republicans and will run unopposed. Accepting the Democrats’ nod, Stanley, a Republican, emphasized the non-partisan quality of town politics, saying he makes decisions by considering “if it’s best for the town, not a party agenda or personal agenda,” and distancing himself from the current national policies of Republicans.
Incumbent assessor Peter DiModica received the Democrats’ vote to keep his position, with no opponent having been offered at the Republican caucus. Town justices Tom Crucet, a Republican, and Michael Miranda, a Democrat, spoke of how well they work together as they accepted the Democratic nomination to remain in office, echoing the Republicans’ endorsement.
The vote at the Democratic caucus for the council positions was 38 for Van Blarcum, 35 for Storms, and 4 for Holgate.
Van Blarcum, who is 27, spoke of his love for the community he grew up in and his hopes that he can become “a catalyst for getting youth involved in the town.”
Storms cited her experience as a council member for the past four years, as a local realtor and businesswoman, as a volunteer for the Belleayre Conservatory, and in other positions serving the community.
Holgate has been a scoutmaster for many years and organizer of the troop’s field trips. She has taken roles in the local Rotary, including helping with the annual rubber duck race fundraiser.
Several candidates for other offices addressed the crowd, including Julian Schreibman, running for State Supreme Court on the Democratic ticket. The district includes seven counties, and Schreibman, who grew up in the Kingston area, spoke of the value for local voters of having an Ulster County representative on the court. A Yale graduate with 20 years experience as a lawyer, he has held positions such as federal prosecutor in Manhattan and assistant district attorney in Ulster County. Speeches were made by candidates for the county’s legislative district 22, which includes the towns of Shandaken, Olive, Denning, and Hardenburgh.
Legislative primaries on tap
John Parete, a Boiceville businessman and longtime Democratic county legislator, now running to keep his seat, brought up the drug epidemic and the need for local jobs as key issues to be addressed by the county. He rebutted claims by his opponent that he is consorting excessively with Republicans, saying cooperation between the parties is essential in county government, and his familiarity with those on the other side of the aisle makes him an effective legislator.
Kathy Nolan, an environmental activist who will face off with Parete in the September 12 primary, pointed out that he has supported Republican candidates. She disagreed with his approval of county sheriff Paul Van Blarcum’s decision to check warrants at social services and his opposition to making Ulster a sanctuary county. Her own priorities include promoting public health through trail networks, encouraging local businesses and the “creative economy,” and maintaining an open process of government.
Clifford Faintych, a Republican candidate for county legislator, spoke of his experience in Town of Denning government and his extensive credentials as a financial planner, stating that the county needs a trained financial consultant involved in its government.
Parete was chosen, in absentia, at the Republican convention to run for county legislator, while Nolan was selected by the Democratic convention. However, Parete also collected enough signatures from Democrats to run against Nolan. Faintych similarly obtained Republican signatures to run against Parete. Thus Parete will run for county legislator in both the Republican and Democratic primaries on September 12.