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New Scotland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, August 27, 2009

New party formed as GOP candidates battle in primary

By Saranac Hale Spencer

NEW SCOTLAND — Two of the candidates vying for the Republican line in next month’s primary are also being endorsed by a new party, called New Scotland FIRST.

Neither Roselyn Robinson nor Timothy Stanton, both Republicans, got their party’s endorsement, but they are challenging incumbent Douglas LaGrange and Charles Voss to get the line on Sept. 15.  Together with the GOP’s pick for supervisor, Michael Fields, Robinson and Stanton are supported by New Scotland FIRST.

“People are tired of party politics,” Anne Brill, New Scotland FIRST’s treasurer and Robinson’s sister, said of the impetus to form the party, which will dissolve after November’s election.

Candidates in this election haven’t split along party lines, but instead on the issue of zoning in the commercial district.  The two major parties have endorsed LaGrange, a Republican, for one of two seats open on the town board.

Asked what the role of parties are in light of this election, Brill answered, to “try to do anything they can to survive.”  Brill, a member of the Conservative Party, went on to say, “It was always better when parties had a specific platform.  You knew what you were voting for.”

Her party’s platform is summed up in the acronym FIRST, which stands for fiscal responsibility; independence from the politics and influence of other towns; realistic goals; sensible growth; and townwide representation.

When asked if the party is affiliated with the PRIDE of New Scotland group, which Brill helped to form last winter while debate over zoning in the commercial zone wore on, she answered, “It’s really not.” 

Some of the same people are involved, she said, but the focus of PRIDE was to oppose a bill that would have capped the allowable size of a retail store at 50,000 square feet.

LaGrange and Democratic Supervisor Thomas Dolin, up for election this year, supported that bill along with the group called New Scotlanders 4 Sound Economic Development.

“The voters should decide what they want,” Brill said, explaining that she was frustrated that all the endorsed candidates shared similar views on the defining issue of development.  “That’s what’s good for democracy,” she said of offering a choice.

“We are primarying to pick up the Republican line,” she said, since it would be difficult to win with just the New Scotland FIRST line. 

So far, the party has about $4,500 in its coffers, according to the Albany County Board of Elections, but the focus is on talking to people, Brill said.  “It’s really one conversation at a time,” she said.

“Until people actually pull that lever, you don’t know,” said Brill.

In addition to the Republican primary on Sept. 15, there will also be three opportunities to ballot for the Conservative line in New Scotland, which means that a member of the party can either vote for the party’s designated candidates or write in the name of another person.  For town board, the party designees are Douglas LaGrange and Charles Voss; for town clerk the party’s designee is Penny Barone; and for the highway superintendent’s post there is no party designee.

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