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Hilltown Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, June 25, 2009

Berne GOP picks candidates

By Zach Simeone

BERNE — A baker’s dozen of Republicans gathered at the bar in the East Berne Firehouse last night to caucus for fall election candidates, in a town where Democrats outnumber Republicans 3 to 1.

Peggy Warner, chairwoman of Berne’s GOP, took the floor and welcomed the few in attendance, mentioning that far more people showed up for the 2007 caucus. Maybe two years from now, there will be just as many in attendance as two years ago, she joked.

The party, which holds no positions in town government right now, had endorsed current Supervisor Kevin Crosier in the past two elections, but stated publicly that it would not do so again this year. Crosier is still undecided on whether or not he will be running for re-election this year.

“He doesn’t understand the Republican philosophy — a capitalistic society, where small businesses can flourish without being taxed out of existence, and representative government,” Warner said of Crosier last month. In the past, she made note of the three-minutes-per-person time limit for public comments at town board meetings.

Last night, there was a motion and a second to nominate long-time Berne resident Carl Baranishyn, who has also been vocally against Crosier, as a candidate for town supervisor; only one member of the crowd opposed.

Before he retired in 2001, Baranishyn worked for more than 10 years as a consultant to the Federal Aviation Administration, he said. Prior to that, he worked for Sperry Corp., marketing weapons to the United States military, and had also been president of Advanced Electronic Techniques, a company that is no longer in business, he said.

Baranishyn offered to answer any questions about his background that attendees might have; no questions were asked.

Rudy Stempel and Kenneth Crawford were then nominated as town board candidates with unanimous approval, along with Randy Rapp for highway superintendent. Stempel, who owns a lumber mill in town, has served as Berne’s supervisor.

Warner also asked the crowd to make nominations for the positions of town clerk, town justice, tax collector, and assessor; no one responded.

“There seems to be an upheaval in our party,” Warner said after nominations were made, and emphasized the importance of ending the town’s single-party rule.

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