The big race in Hurley will be a rematch between incumbent Republican supervisor John Perry and the Democratic candidate he defeated in a close count two years ago, former Woodstock town-board member and supervisor Tracy Kellogg. But the other races November 5 may say more about where this formerly rural town inching towards suburbia actually stands politically these days.
The town’s Democrats are running on a shared platform of issues announced through their shared website.
Hurley’s Republicans all talk about better reflecting the wishes of townspeople they’ve been seeing while campaigning door-to-door. A look at this year’s ballots shows an eclectic potpourri of smaller party endorsements. Yes, all the GOP candidates also have Conservative Party endorsements, just as all the Dems have the Working Families Party nod. But Green Party endorsements are going to one Republican/Conservative as well as all the Democratic Party candidates except incumbent town clerk Judy Mayhon (who’s also running unopposed). The Independence Party’s nods are going to one Democrat and two Republicans.
“It’s not about party, it’s about what you’re going to bring to the table,” said GOP candidate for town board Matthew May, a 33-year-old mechanic at the West Hurley Garage who stresses his ties to the area (an uncle was a fire chief, a family property is next to the closed elementary school).
“I think it’s all about getting the right people that are interested in keeping us a small, tight-knit town,” added fellow town-board Republican candidate Matt LaClair, who was appointed to the position this past winter from the Hurley planning board. “I’m a good listener. We’re for low taxes and developing Glenford and West Hurley as one community.”
On the Democratic side, the party is prioritizing promoting a greater sense of community, safeguarding the environment, encouraging citizen participation in local government and maximizing town resources while managing growth wisely.” More specifically, small business owner and public historian Melinda McKnight stresses that she’s running for town council “to bring an open and accessible approach to local government where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.” Logistics manager and self-employed general contractor Peter Humphries, a trained mediator, says he’s running for the same position as a means of bringing his skills to bear on creating “an environment that helps everyone, not just a few.”
The top of the ticket
John Perry and Tracy Kellogg are at it again in the race for Hurley supervisor. Two years ago Perry, the Republican candidate, won election night by a handful of votes, but then extended and cemented his lead as provisional and write-in ballots were counted. Kellogg, a former Woodstock supervisor who had run for the town’s top position as a Democrat for the first time in 2015 after two prior attempts to win one of Hurley’s justice positions, has been a near-constant presence at Hurley meetings throughout the past year.
Perry, a personal trainer who runs his own business, has been running the town since taking office in January 2018 with an eye towards opening it up to more meetings outside the town hall, and more openness. His predecessor, Gary Bellows, had three decades as supervisor, minus a two year stint, under his belt. Perry’s proud of his work getting back to the press and town residents, and being receptive to community worries about new development, greater environmental responsibility, and a greater sense of cohesion to the reservoir-divided township.
Each supervisor candidate has in recent months has accused the other of politicizing the issues.
Kellogg, an attorney with her own Kingston-based practice, has focused on what she feels is sloppy governance on the town’s, and Perry’s, part. She points out how much more can be done to build transparency into town actions, criticizing closed-door decisions in executive session and seeking better treatment of residents who question town actions. She’s particularly concerned about the way development policies get handled, worrying that Hurley could be setting itself up for lawsuits by not following process with more care and precision.
Both candidates describe themselves as being non-politicians, interested in bringing skills to the town, and protecting from the systemic shifts that have been moving up the Hudson Valley with increasing gentrification
On the highways ….
“While I do think that the person is more important than the party here, I found it a bit troubling when I ran into people who’d bring up national politics while I was going door- to-door campaigning,” said Republican highway superintendent candidate Gavin Bellows, a construction industry veteran with his own 20-employee business. Folks were asking him to run four years ago, but his father, former town supervisor Gary Bellows, warned him to wait until he himself was out of office first. “I’m running because I’ve heard things aren’t running well …. I’ve hit over 1500 houses going door to door. I’ve read things in the paper ….”
Bellows is running against incumbent highway superintendent and former town supervisor Mike Shultis (who defeated and then was defeated by Bellows’ father) is pushing his years of experience, his “deep commitment to our town,” and the two large drainage projects he’s completed during the past two years, which he says had saved Hurley taxpayers over $60,000. He too speaks about serving “all the residents of Hurley.”
That theme again. “Hurley belongs to all citizens,” the Democratic website says. “Elected officials represent everyone. Everyone must play by the rules. Acts of favoritism by public officials are wrong, and public officials must behave respectfully with the citizens.”