Two incumbents are running unopposed for reelection to the Gardiner Town Board

In Gardiner, two incumbents, both Democrats, are running unopposed for reelection to the Town Board. Also endorsed by Move Forward New York, Franco Carucci is a relative newcomer to municipal government, appointed last spring to fill out the remainder of the term of Mike Reynolds when Reynolds resigned after moving outside the township. Trained as an attorney, and with many years of experience obtaining grants for municipalities as a principal of Shingebiss Associates, Laura Walls has served on the board for nearly four years; before that she was town supervisor for a single term in 2000-2001.

Laura Walls

What specific roles, such as committee liaison, do you fulfill on the Town Board? How do these align with your personal skillset, experience or fields of interest?

I am happy to bring my past experience as town supervisor, member of NYCSD board and four years as Town Board member to my current position. As deputy supervisor, I am privileged to work with supervisor Marybeth Majestic. My field of interest is finding the balance between what was, what is and what may be. We must understand our community and understand the environment within which it exists so that we may be able to steer a course that honors cultural tradition yet combines it with the dynamic currently at our doorstep.

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Of the issues that the board is addressing at present, or expects to in the near future, what are your highest priorities to see resolved early in the coming term? What strengths do you bring to those tasks?

That we must honor our past whilst being cognizant of the present some of the past has wrought. The strength I bring, I think, is that there rarely is a right answer and too frequently a wrong question. All I can do is bring my experience, my understanding of what is before us now, and to find a way among different thinkers that will serve the greater good: research, write, understand, inquire, discuss, understand in new ways, work with others, right wrongs, prevent wrongs and do the best one can in each and every moment.  Namaste. 

What future challenges or opportunities do you envision the board addressing over the longer term? What would you like to see the board take on, once shorter-term concerns are resolved?

To live in the Gardiner community in such a way that, if the intention and dialogue is modeled, peace may result. Never always right or always wrong, but with care and compassion, make decisions that lead toward progress and a happy whole.

Franco Carucci

Why do you want to continue serving on the Gardiner Town Board?

I joined the Gardiner Town Board earlier this year in May. The seat had become vacated, and after an interview with the remaining Town Board members I was unanimously voted onto the board. During my short tenure, I have immersed myself in the many topics the Town Board is working on and have learned much from the other members. I have also introduced legislation to allow for Community Choice Aggregation (CCA), which will bring green energy to Gardiner at a lower price than we currently pay. I want to continue in order to see this new law come to fruition and support my colleagues in the many topics we are working on for the betterment of our community.

What specific roles, such as committee liaison, do you fulfill on that board? How do these align with your personal skillset, experience or fields of interest?

I am also currently a member of Climate Smart Gardiner and support that team by representing their goals with the Town Board. We are on the cusp of several amazing implementations, including an Electric Vehicle (EV) charging station, which will be located near the Gardiner Library. My major focus has been on environmental issues, and I believe that carries over perfectly to the Town Board, as we continue to help Gardiner maintain all of its natural beauty.

Of the issues that the board is addressing at present, or expects to in the near future, what are your highest priorities to see resolved early in the coming term? What strengths do you bring to those tasks?

The Town Board currently is juggling several high priorities at the moment. One of my personal high priorities will be to continue pushing toward renewable energy for Gardiner through the proposed CCA law, through implementation of the EV charging station and replacement of streetlamps with LED lighting. These would help Gardiner continue doing its part in the fight against climate change. In parallel, we are diligently working through several proposed updates to laws, including the Tourism-Related Land Use zoning law. Another major focus for this coming year and beyond will be dealing with the sewer within the hamlet. Of course there are many, many more initiatives, but these will be the early ones we will be working on in the next year.

What future challenges or opportunities do you envision the board addressing over the longer term? What would you like to see the board take on, once shorter-term concerns are resolved? 

In my short time thus far on the Town Board, one area I’ve observed that would be an excellent opportunity is the alignment across each group managing town business, including the Town Board, Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, the Open Space Commission et cetera.  I believe that if we get aligned, we will not only be more effective at governing, but more efficient in the manner we do so. In the very near future, we will be holding cross-organization meetings to prepare each other for what is on our plates for the upcoming year. Hopefully this will be a springboard for future alignment and collaboration.

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