R’ville GOP still searching for supervisor candidate

RENSSELAERVILLE — Rensselaerville’s current town supervisor, Valerie Lounsbury, a Republican, will not be running for reelection, while the town’s Republican party is still searching for a candidate. The Democrats, however, have a full town board slate, but are searching for a candidate for highway superintendent.

Rensselaerville Republican Chairman Richard Tollner said that, at the Republican caucus on Aug. 22, Rensselaerville Republicans nominated:

— Jason Rauf, an enrolled Republican, for town councilman;

— Marion Cooke, an enrolled Conservative, for re-election to town council;

— Donna Kropp, an enrolled Republican, for re-election as a town assessor;

— Kathryn Wank, who is enrolled in the Independence Party, for re-election as a town assessor; and

— Randall Bates, an enrolled Conservative, for re-election as highway superintendent.

The party declined to nominate anyone for the position of town clerk. Tollner said that the Republicans see no need to replace the current town clerk. The town, Victoria Kraker, an enrolled Democrat, has run on multiple party lines before.

“We’re not a party-line group, we’re not against anybody,” said Tollner.

The town-supervisor position is currently without a GOP nomination, because Lounsbury will not be running to keep her post. Lounsbury left her seat on the town board in February 2012 to become supervisor after then-supervisor Marie Dermody stepped down soon after being elected. Lounsbury then ran unopposed in November 2012 and in 2013.

“Val would be an excellent candidate, but she’s not running again,” said Tollner.

Lounsbury could not be reached for comment.

Tollner said that a nominee chosen at this year’s caucus — whom Tollner did not identify — declined the nomination. Tollner said the committee is looking for a new nominee.

The candidates are running on a platform of saving money and reducing taxes — in particular high taxes for senior citizens.

Tollner noted that Kropp, as a long-time town assessor, would not have to take any town-supported courses to be recertified, which would save the town money. Bates, as highway superintendent, has saved the town funds by buying or renting used rather than new equipment for road maintenance, said Tollner. Cooke, he said, has helped save money during her time on the town board, which has already spanned two four-year terms, and he expects Rauf to do the same.

“These people that are running for office are not confrontational; they’re constructive…” said Tollner. “They’re not political personalities, they’re your neighbors.”


According to Jeffry Pine, the chairman of the Rensselaerville Democratic Committee, on Aug. 1, town Democrats nominated:

— Steve Pfleging, a Democrat, for town supervisor;

— Marie Dermody, a Democrat and former town supervisor, for town council;

— Robert Tanner, a Democrat, for town council;

— Michael Weber, a Republican, for town assessor;

— Hebert Joseph, who is not enrolled in any party, for town assessor; and

— Victoria Kraker, the Democratic incumbent, for town clerk.

Pine said that there had been a potential nominee for highway superintendent who then decided against running. He said that it is not likely that the Democrats will nominate an opponent to Bates, but will welcome any candidates interested.

He said he expects that the plight of volunteer firefighters and ambulance personnel would be part of the platform the Democratic slate will run on, as Pfleging is the chief of the Medusa Volunteer Company and Robert Tanner is the chief of the Rensselaerville Volunteer Fire Company.

Pine reflected on the difficulty in finding nominees this year, noting that even 20 years ago there would be five or six potential candidates for a seat.

Gerald Wood, a Democrat, who has served one four-year term, will not be running again. He told The Enterprise that there is no reason he is not running, but said he’d like to “let someone else take a swing at it.” He said he had a good experience with the town board.

“I think everybody should have their shot at the government and see what it’s like,” he said.


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