From the supervisor to the town justices, many of the Town of Shandaken’s elected positions are up for grabs this year. With Supervisor Rob Stanley stepping down after more than a decade in office, and with two board seats on the ballot, the town could see a shift in its style of governance.
Two long-time incumbents are running unopposed, Highway Superintendent Eric Hofmeister and Town Clerk Joyce Grant. For the two assessor seats that are open, only two people are running, Stephen Neville, a Democrat, and Grace Grant, who has no party affiliation and has served for several years as clerk in the assessor’s office.
Since Stanley, a Republican, has pulled back from his supervisor duties due to illness, council member and deputy supervisor Kevin Van Blarcum has taken over much of his role. The Republican candidate for supervisor is John Blydenburgh, a 40-year Shandaken resident who was formerly the proprietor of Resort Ridge Pizza in the Phoenicia Plaza. He now works for the Shandaken highway department and is a member of Sons of the American Legion Post 950, where he’s currently serving as the adjutant.
Blydenburgh will run against Democrat Peter DiSclafani, who served as supervisor from 2008 to 2010, having been previously on the town council. He is currently back on the council since his return to the position in 2012. He’s an ambulance driver and a volunteer firefighter, and he and his wife own the Catskill Rose restaurant in Mount Tremper.
Two council seats now occupied by Democrats are up for election. Faye Storms, after two terms, is stepping down. Van Blarcum, whose seat is also up, was passed over at the Democratic caucus, in which nominations went to Robert Drake and Elizabeth Kneissl. Drake is an IT manager and small business owner who has experience with grants and project management. Kneissl is a systems engineer and project manager with over 25 years experience in the construction and technology industries. She is a member of the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals.
Angel Molina, after failing to garner a Democratic nomination, is running for council with the endorsement of the Working Families Party. He has a masters in public health, had a career working for New York City, and now owns the Belleayre Lodge in Pine Hill with his wife. He is also a volunteer firefighter.
Paul Beyer, one of the Republican candidates for town council, has lived in Shandaken for 18 years, after having his own business selling TVs on Long Island. He now works as a handyman, offering electrical, plumbing, painting, and other services. Also on the Republican ticket is Ken Anello, owner of the Slide Mountain Motel in the hamlet of Shandaken for the past eight years. He has a bachelors degree in business administration, ran a landscaping business on Long Island for 40 years, and is a scout leader and member of the 3500 Club.
The two incumbent town justices are running to keep their seats, both having served multiple terms. Republican Tom Crucet has been nominated by both major parties. Michael Miranda, a Democrat, received a Democratic nod. Challenger Matt Persons, running on the Republican line, graduated from SUNY Delhi with an A.D. degree in occupational studies. He worked for 32 years for the Laborers International Union of North America, Local 17 out of Newburgh, and is now retired.