Candidates shared their information with us for this forum.
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Favor J. Smith
- My party affiliation. I am registered as a Republican but am running as an Independent under the Honesty party. Political parties apparently needed for state or federal elections come with certain baggage and rhetoric that invariably creates divisions and these divisions don’t help get things done in a small community.
- My qualifications for office. I have lived in Lake Placid and Wilmington for nearly all my 60 years and practiced law for 26 years. I am no specialist and have tried to help local clients with whatever questions they had—business questions; real estate questions; questions from families about estates and, more recently, about aging loved ones who need help. I am familiar with zoning and other municipal law matters having served as Town Attorney for Wilmington from 2004 to 2007. I have been involved with education and children as well. I served on the Lake Placid Central School Board from 1999-2001; taught skiing to kids at Whiteface and was a cross country ski coach for the Lake Placid Ski Club; and worked at North Country School and Camp Treetops in Lake Placid as a teacher/counselor/outdoor trip leader. If not for breaking my ankle on top of Hurricane on one such trip 10 years ago, I might still be at it.
- My key goals, if elected. Cooperation. Wilmington has been divided over flashpoint issues like short term rentals and often raw feelings between neighbors have taken oxygen away from other important issues, such as . . . Pay Increases. A more immediate goal is to increase the pay for the Town employees. With such limited resources, this will require trade-offs, but those who work for the Town now feel squeezed by rising costs and the money needed to pay those costs. Finally, transparency. My efforts will be directed towards transparency on those local questions that most concern the public and to ask for its direct help (committees, draft proposals) to help solve those problems. This is a buy-in approach to include as many voices as needed to reach some compromise and, one hopes, basic consensus. There are always disagreements, but the goal is to see neighbors work towards a solution through trade-offs and compromises. Little of that is seen in Washington, D.C. and our country is the poorer for that.
Democrat & independent on the “Silent Majority” party line.
— Bachelor’s degree in Government (Georgetown University);
— Former reporter, writer, and / or editor for The Washington Post Company, Federal News Service, The Lake Placid News, and The Onion;
— Law degree (Vermont Law School);
— Member of Wilmington’s town board.
— Short-term vacation rentals (“STRs”) are the region’s “hot topic of the decade,” and Wilmington, a town with approximately 650 “dwelling units,” now has at least 125 “whole home” STRs. I do not want to ban STRs, but 125 is a sufficient number for a town the size of Wilmington.
I will work to cap the number of annual STR permits issued by Wilmington at a number close to 125; I will seek ways to curtail additional STR proliferation in residential parts of town; and I will work to enact legal mechanisms to ensure that neighboring property owners have the right to the quiet enjoyment of their own property.
— Wilmington’s close call with Dollar General shows that we should now update and improve our zoning ordinance in order to:
- Allow our planning board to improve the appearance and limit the size and visibility of “big box” stores and similar entities looking to “serve our community”;
- Promote the redevelopment of blighted properties in and around the center of town, while simultaneously slowing the current pace of deforestation and commercial development in predominantly residential areas of Wilmington;
- Provide our planning board with stronger legal grounds to approve applications with conditions designed to protect and improve the “character of the community” and residential quality of life.
— I will work to slow or halt Wilmington’s pattern of annual property tax increases by, among other things:
- Using bed tax money to the maximum extent legally permissible;
- Increasing the fees charged for STR operating permits;
- Moving toward fiscal conservatism and away from “business as usual,” which has required Wilmington’s taxpayers to foot the bill for legal representation billed at $450-an-hour — and various other luxuries.
— As town supervisor, I will serve the interests of:
- Those who moved to Wilmington because of its natural, wholesome, and authentic appeal;
- Those with deep ties to the community who feel disheartened by its current trajectory and ignored by its current leaders;
- Those who love Wilmington because it is a quiet mountain town, not in spite of the fact that it is a quiet mountain town.
In closing, I would be glad to meet with you before Election Day. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a time to talk.
Forest (Randy) Winch
- Your party affiliation: Running on the independent “People’s” line
- Your qualifications for the office: I am Forest (Randy) Winch, I am running for Wilmington Town Council. I am a lifelong resident of Wilmington. In October of 2021, I retired from the Lake Placid Central School, where I worked in various roles for 20 years. I am running for Town Council because I think we should be focusing more on our full-time residents’ needs and concerns. I hope to represent all of the people in town. I am invested and interested in maintaining the character of the town I love, while still achieving reasonable growth.
- Your key goals if elected to the position.
– The housing shortage is a big problem in Wilmington, and all over our area. The Homestead Housing Project on Route 86 is a great start, but we need more projects like this if we want to keep our young people living in town. The young working people cannot afford to buy a house in the area, and there are very few, if any, places to rent long term. This is a major issue that our town council should take much more seriously.
– Another important issue in Wilmington is taxes. Finding better ways to use our tax dollars is crucial, as is being more careful with our spending. We also need to make sure our town employees have a livable wage. To do that, we will need to spend more money. Finding ways to cut costs and finding other sources of revenue are both important.
-Two other issues that are important to me are dredging the Ausable River and cutting down on speeding in residential areas. The silt and sand buildup in the river, along with the cattails, are getting worse every year. This is not an issue our current board has prioritized.
Speeding on our roads is dangerous. The flashing speed limit signs seem to have very little effect on speeding in residential areas. Children, pets, and people using our roads for recreation should be protected. I would suggest using a speed enforcement camera to issue tickets instead of the flashing alert signs.
Wilmington has a lot to offer our residents and visitors. I would like to be a part of a team that focuses more on protecting the things we love about Wilmington, and works together to make faster and more substantial progress toward long-term goals.
Fellow Wilmington Residents, my name is Michelle Preston, and I am running as an Independent on the November 7th ballot for Wilmington Town Council. I have lived in Wilmington for over 23 years, raising my 4 children here. Over the years I have volunteered my time for numerous events, church activities, and organizations. I am the Director of the Whiteface Visitors Bureau (serving for over 16 years) and am currently serving as one of your Town Councilmembers, the position for which I am seeking your vote.
I am very organized and community driven. My love for Wilmington and its residents is my driving force to see it remain sustainable for future generations. I believe everything starts at the town level, however it’s our responsibility to bring it to the county and state to make things happen. I take every opportunity to network with people who I feel would be a great resource for us in the future. Through the years, I have developed a great working relationship with county and state agency officials and believe this is a true asset to the town moving forward.
- Plan – as a town I feel the need to develop a plan for the future. There hasn’t been a real plan done in several years. Within the main plan, I would like to include items such as employee retention, building upkeep, beautification, new development, and updated infrastructure.
- Work with our representatives to see how we can change the laws so STR’s can be considered Businesses and taxed accordingly. Our town would benefit from the sales tax these rentals should be bringing in. Its time the state took action.
- Seek grants for the River, Farmers Market, Arts, and other projects to benefit Wilmington and its residents to assist in keeping our taxes down.
- Seek updated infrastructure for our outdated and worn electric system. Wilmington residents need reliable power.
- Work with our representatives to demand reliable cell reception. In today’s technology there is no reason we shouldn’t have a strong and reliable signal throughout town.
I thank the Jay Community News for allowing me the opportunity to give you a very brief look at my views. As a fellow Wilmington Taxpayer, I know how important it is to get the right people in office. This is just a taste of my views, and I am always willing to answer questions. Thank you and I appreciate your support and your vote on November 7th.
Position: Wilmington Board Member
Party Affiliation: Republican/Citizen’s
Hi, my name is Darin Forbes, and I’m seeking re-election to the Wilmington Town Board. I have been a member of the board for the past 15 years, deputy Supervisor for 14 years, and worked for the town as Water Superintendent for 6 years before being elected to the board. This experience has given me, extensive knowledge of our town infrastructure, operating procedures, codes and budget.
When I first sought out election my goal was simple: bring life back to the town, promote healthy development, and maintain small town charm, all while giving taxes in check. I believe during my tenure as a board member I have helped do just that.
My goals today remain the same, Wilmington needs healthy growth, business, and new construction to help increase our tax base yet maintain a high quality of life for our residents. We need to take care of our employees, maintain a balanced budget, keep taxes in check, listen to our local business owners, yet balance the differences between our locals and visitors and what they think the future of Wilmington should be.
As a Wilmington native, I understand the value of maintaining our small-town charm, however as a business owner and seasoned traveler I understand that’s no easy task.
If you re-elect me, I believe I can help re-unite Wilmington and help keep Wilmington moving toward a positive future. I believe Wilmington has truly become a four-season destination which locals and tourists alike enjoy to the fullest. Let’s keep Wilmington’s future moving in a positive direction. My experience and deep understanding of all parts of Wilmington, will help Wilmington do just that.
Please vote Darin Forbes on November 7th and I’ll continue to work hard to keep Wilmington great!
Laura Dreissigacker Hooker
- Your party affiliation: Registered Democrat, running on the “For Wilmington” independent line
- Your qualifications for the office: I’m a member of Wilmington’s Planning and Zoning board and I’m on numerous leadership councils at Adirondack Health, where I am a Registered Nurse. I’m chairperson of Adirondack Health’s Innovation and Technology council. I love research and finding ways to fix things. I was born and raised here and live here with my two sons and husband. I am a fast learner who will represent Wilmington residents in a meaningful and driven manner as Wilmington faces new challenges, but also has new opportunities.
- Your key goals if elected to the position
Understanding: knowing that there are many walks of life in this town and that historically not everyone can be happy at once. I’m hoping to bridge the gap and try to find a happy medium while finding new ways to educate and empower townspeople.
Transparency: Open communication; having no special agendas or financial interests that could conflict with my responsibilities to the taxpayers; acknowledging when I’ve been wrong; and sharing what I know.
Accountability: Being able to back up decisions and statements with facts. Timely and consistent followthrough is a huge part of being on a successful board.
Change: New blood is good, new ideas are good, new ambition is good.
Proactive, not reactive: Acknowledging current trends, looking down the road, and seeing things that need to be addressed before they become bigger problems.
I would like to work with our community to see what we, as a community, believe should be the priorities for our town, but some of my ideas which I’ve been discussing since the beginning of June are:
- Holding monthly community learning workshops at our current community center.
- Ensuring the elders in our town have the things they need.
- Using bed tax money to ease the property tax burden
- Involving the youth with our emergency services and highway departments and trying to inspire them to become involved.
- Finding and sharing resources for young families.
- Finding and pursuing housing initiatives & grants.
- Maintaining and supporting our infrastructure.
- Enacting fair, clear, and contemporary ordinances and codes
- Adjusting salaries and wages based on performance, inflation, and longevity.
- Electing a fresh, motivated, competent, and ethical town board that sees that there is much room for improvement and change.
Thank you for your consideration.
I am Chris Daly, running for Keene Town Council on the Democratic and the Daly For Keene party lines.
I was honored to be appointed to fill a Town Council vacancy a year ago. Since then I have worked diligently in the best interests of Keene and its residents – even when that has led me to take positions that are unpopular with some people.
We cannot address any of the challenges our town faces if we are unable to work together and return civility to our public discourse. We may disagree at times – that’s expected – but we should be able do so without aiming to undermine those we disagree with.
You can rely on me to not run away from a challenge. Please give me your trust, your confidence and your vote so I can continue the important work of representing you on our Town Council.
Essex County Clerk
Mom, Life Partner, Daughter, Public Servant, Business Owner and Widow
Party: Registered Republican running on the New Visions Independent Party line
Occupation: Currently the North Hudson Town Supervisor & Budget Officer, County Board Supervisor, Small Business owner-Independent Consultant
Education: Graduated from Schroon Lake Central School and attended Adirondack Community College and majored in Architecture and Computer Aided Design, varying Continued Education classes on Municipal Budgeting, Municipal Town Law and Procedure, Municipal Accounting.
Civic organizations: I have been involved in North Hudson Youth Commission, Schroon Lake Little League, The American Cancer Society Relay for Life, Schroon Lake PTSO
Issues I’d like to address and things I’d like to accomplish:
During my 15 years at the clerk’s office there were many times I said to myself, “If I ever have the opportunity to improve on that or make this a little more efficient”, then I would do it. This is my opportunity! Much of what happens in the Clerk’s office is governed by statute but the day to day procedural activities of the office could use improvement. Some of the daily operations could be streamlined and made more efficient. I would also like to expand on our online services.
I would like to see the services we provide in our main DMV office expanded on and once again to be able to provide weekly hours in our satellite offices. I have ideas on how to tackle the recruitment of employees in order to do so.
I would like to improve on the services we already provide by expanding beyond what is required and collaborate with other departments and entities to give the public more.
There is more that can be offered to our Veterans from the Clerks office, there is more that can be offered to small business owners, and I have plans in mind that can make that happen at no additional cost to the taxpayers. I intend to save taxpayer dollars and provide more!
During my 15 years as an employee, 5 years as a County Board Supervisor, Chairwoman of the Essex County Personnel Committee and member of the Employee Contract Negotiation Team I have seen and heard the needs of our employees. It is my intention to continue to work with County management to advocate for our current and future employees.
As your County Clerk I will be accessible, ethical and dedicated to providing you with the needed services you deserve.
New York State
State Supreme Court Justice in New York’s Fourth Judicial District
I am a Democrat who is running for State Supreme Court Justice in New York’s Fourth Judicial District. This is the largest Judicial District in the State and includes 11 counties, starting in Schenectady and going north to the Canadian border. It includes all of Jay, Wilmington, Keene, and Chesterfield.
Regarding my qualifications, I am currently a full-time City Court Judge in Schenectady. As a City Court Judge, I preside over a caseload of hundreds of complex criminal and civil cases. Defendants charged with the most serious felonies, such as murder, weapon possession, and burglary, routinely appear in front of me. I also preside over the Schenectady City Alternative Treatment Court, which provides help and support to defendants throughout Schenectady County who commit crimes due to their mental illnesses, but want to turn their lives around. I consider myself tough, but fair, and take pride in rendering prompt and informed decisions to all those who come before me.
I also had extensive legal experience before becoming a judge. I began my legal career as a prosecutor in the Schenectady County District Attorney’s Office. While there, I managed a large caseload and was assigned to the Special Victims Unit, where I prosecuted domestic violence and sex crime felonies. Additionally, I was a member of the Domestic Abuse Response Team, the prosecutor for the Integrated Domestic Violence Court, and worked with the Child Advocacy Center to improve the handling of crimes with child victims. Following that, in 2014 I was appointed Corporation Counsel for the City of Schenectady. In that capacity I oversaw all aspects of the City’s legal matters, including multimillion-dollar lawsuits, collective bargaining agreement negotiations, city ordinance prosecutions, and economic development initiatives.
While the Fourth Judicial District is the largest in the state, I know it well. My family moved to Saratoga County when I was three and I graduated from Saratoga Springs High School. Also, as a lifetime outdoorsman and hunter, I have traveled throughout this district and to many of the municipalities in it. I understand the unique challenges people face living within the Blue Line, and the remarkable features that make the Adirondacks such a special place. I am as comfortable in a lean-to as I am on the courtroom bench, and will be able to fully comprehend the issues in all cases that come in front of me, regardless of which county they originate from.
If I am elected to office my goal is to continue my work as a fair and impartial Judge who promptly decides all matters that come before me. I have a proven record in City Court and am ready to move up to a higher level.