Changed plans don’t alter Kuck’s intent to quit Knox board

Enterprise file photo — Melissa Hale-Spencer

Change of plans:  A family move to Holland is not in the cards after all for councilman Eric Kuck.  But he still intends to make the December town board meeting his last. Kuck  also served as board liaison to the town’s Conservation Advisory Council.

KNOX— A councilman who had planned to move with his family to Holland and to leave the town board at the end of his one-year appointed term will not be moving after all. But he has told The Enterprise that he still intends for 2016 to be his first and last year on the board.

Eric Kuck’s name will be on November ballot on the Unify Knox line. His decision to move to Holland came too late to remove it. Kuck registered Unify Knox as a new party earlier this year in hopes of creating a less partisan climate in the town.

Kuck will not be getting back into the race, despite his family’s decision to stay put, he said in an email to The Enterprise on  Oct. 6.

“I'll stay the course until  [the end of his  term] in December, but I'll be ending my civic duty then,” he wrote.  “It's been an interesting foray, but one that I'm happy to pass off to whomever wins the election.”

Knox voters will thus be presented with an unusual choice for the seat: Dan Hanley, the official Democratic major-party nominee; Kuck, who expects to get some votes but is not actively seeking them or the post; and Ken Saddlemire, the Republican nominee who said on Oct. 5 that  he intends to conduct a write-in campaign after his own party — he is an enrolled Democrat — succeeded in removing his name from the ballot by court order.

Saddlemire, a dairy farmer, was nominated by the GOP caucus but fell short in the Democratic caucus.  Albany County State Supreme Court ruled last week that his nomination was invalid because the Republican party had not filed proper advance notice of its caucus.

Kuck has been a vocal critic of town Supervisor Vasilios Lefkaditis. Saddlemire, on the other hand, has welcomed some of the changes made by Lefkaditis, who was elected last November running on the Conservative Party line because his own party, the Democratic, had endorsed the incumbent, Michael Hammond. Lefkaditis nominated Saddlemire at this year’s  Democratic caucus.

Hanley, a teacher who has been endorsed by Kuck, has said he thinks “compromise is a good way to go forward.”  

Kuck, an Albany policeman for more than 20 years, was appointed to the board  in December after long-time member and town Democratic Party Chairman  Nicholas Viscio resigned with two years left in his term. Kuck’s one-year appointment required him to run for election this November to serve out the year still  remaining in Viscio’s term.

Kuck is unsure if the Unify Knox party will live on when he steps away from politics. In his email, he wrote that he had formed the party to “give voters another choice who may be disenchanted with either or both major parties. So, I guess if that philosophy lives on with someone in the future then the Unify party will continue if maybe not in exact name or title but in spirit.”

Kuck has also told The Enterprise that having previously endorsed Hanley he wouldn’t now want to get back in the race and “just confuse people anymore than they already are.”

In addition, he said, “I think Dan is going to do a better job...He may have a bit more time to devote than I do.”

“It was a good run,” Kuck said of his own experience on the board. “But it takes a lot of time away from family.”

He explained that one of the main reasons that he and his family  had decided not to move to Holland  is that the country has “a quagmire of rules and regulations on immigration.”

Because the government there would not recognize his police pension as income, he explained, he — as well as his wife — would be required to have jobs.  Not only that but he would have to have a job with a salary appropriate for his age.

“Wall number two,” he said was that the couple’s daughter, who  is slated to graduate a year early here at Berne-Knox-Westerlo, would have to go two-to-three times longer at the Dutch schools in order to catch up with the curriculum and graduate. “So, instead of being done in two years she would be looking at a minimum of five, maybe even six years.”

Updated on Oct. 7, 2016: Specifics on why Eric Kuck and his family decided not to move to the Netherlands were added when they became available.

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