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Hilltown Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, May 7, 2009

In Berne: GOP and Crosier slam each other

By Zach Simeone

BERNE — Supervisor Kevin Crosier, a Democrat who won elections in 2001 and 2005 on the Republican line, will not have GOP backing this time around, although Crosier is undecided on whether or not he is running this year.

“We’re not having it,” Peggy Warner, chairperson of the town’s Republican Committee, told The Enterprise this week. “He doesn’t understand the Republican philosophy — a capitalistic society, where small businesses can flourish without being taxed out of existence, and representative government.”

Gerald O’Malley, chairman of the town’s Democratic Committee, declined to comment on whether or not the Democrats had spoken with Crosier about working together in the 2009 race.

On why he ran on the Republican line in the past two elections, Crosier said, “I only used their line to get elected, because they had nobody to take that line.”

During his eight years in office, Crosier has headed a board made up of four Democratic council members, in a town where Democrats outnumber Republicans by about 3 to 1.

Former Supervisor Alan Zuk, who Crosier defeated in the 2001 election, had consistently garnered the Democratic nomination for more than a decade. So, Crosier sought backing from the Republicans. He ran again on the Republican line in 2005, defeating Democratic Councilman James Hamilton.

Warner emphasized the fact that, when the committee supported Crosier in the previous two elections, it was made up of different members.

“I wasn’t on the committee; I opposed him then, and I oppose him now,” Warner said. “We had nothing to do with him running before, and we are not going to run him now.”

Warner said that, when Crosier first ran for supervisor, he said that he would change his enrollment from Democrat to Republican. Crosier told The Enterprise in 2001, before the election, that he was not planning on changing his enrollment.

“Some people may imagine that,” Crosier said, “but I had no conversation like that with anyone — that’s for sure. I’ve been an enrolled Democrat my whole life.”

Last year, he ran in a Democratic primary against incumbent Albany County Legislator Alexander “Sandy” Gordon and lost.

Warner said of Crosier, “You talk to him, and he says one thing, and then he does another. All I know is, he doesn’t seem to represent the majority of people up here.” She noted the time limit placed on public comments at the monthly town board meetings.

Crosier had become unpopular among some town residents and highway workers when he supported the merging of highway departments with the county, though he said that the highway department workers would not lose their jobs.

The Republican committee will be holding a caucus on June 17, at which it plans to nominate long-time Berne resident Carl Baranishyn, also on the committee, as its candidate for supervisor, and Randy Rapp for highway superintendent.

“But, until the caucus is held, nothing’s official,” Warner said.

Baranishyn said that he is indeed planning to run for supervisor, adding, “Crosier just doesn’t listen to the people. People come first, town comes second. If the people don’t want it, there’s no reason the town should have it. It’s time the people in this town stood up and took interest.”

While Crosier is unsure of whether or not he will run this year, he will surely not seek backing from the town’s current Republican Committee, he said.

“The current Republican leadership is out of touch with the community,” Crosier said. “I don’t even think they understand what complicated problems face our community, like what goes into our budgeting; the current state of the economy and what it means to small municipalities; what sales tax revenue currently looks like; ideas for promoting small business.”

Crosier said that, since he has taken office, the town of Berne is in the best shape it has ever been in.

“I’ve chosen to do one thing, and that’s to serve the people of Berne to the best of my ability,” Crosier concluded. “I’ve lowered taxes; the town currently has a $1.3-million surplus; new infrastructure; we’ve gotten almost $2 million in grants. Political parties are only how you get there. But, once you’re in that seat, you work for the town of Berne, not some political party that thinks you owe them a favor.”

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