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Special Section Archives The Altamont Enterprise, November 3, 2011

District 29
Republicans’ Carman is unopposed

By Anne Hayden

GUILDERLAND — Lee Carman, a Republican incumbent, is seeking re-election to the 29th District, which covers a large portion of the town of Guilderland. He also has backing from the Conservative and Independence parties. He is running for a second four-year term.

Carman’s family is rooted in Guilderland, stretching back three generations. Aside from leaving the town to attend Clarkson University, from which he graduated in 1990 with a dual degree in finance and management, Carman has lived in the area his whole life, attending Guilderland schools.

He currently works as the vice president of commercial lending for Kinderhook Bank. He is married, with two daughters.

“I don’t like not finishing something I’ve started,” said Carman, of his decision to run for a third term.

Carman said he was definitely opposed to the 19.2-percent tax increase proposed by the county executive.

“Unfortunately, I think we need to start making some harder decisions on getting rid of overstaffing and looking at where we’re spending money,” he said. There are other cost-saving measures, such as voluntary furloughs, Carman said.

“I don’t know if decreasing the amount of sales tax revenue distributed to municipalities would decrease taxes overall — it may reduce county taxes, but increase taxes otherwise,” he said. Raising sales tax, he said, wouldn’t solve the problem; it would ignore it.

“Raising the county sales tax is the easy way out; it puts no accountability on anybody to manage the finances,” said Carman. He said the county should figure out how to cut spending, and not ignore it.

“I think we should shoot for no tax increase; I don’t know if that’s realistic, but that’s the goal,” he said. Cutting certain non-mandated programs is something the legislature has discussed; Carman said that, under certain circumstances, he would support cutting non-mandated programs, although he couldn’t give specifics.

“If there are jobs that are vacant, I think we should take them out of the budget entirely, because that should mean we are accomplishing the job without them, and that’s where we should start,” said Carman. He said the legislature should look to department heads for guidance, and then make decisions.

“I think the nursing home should be privately run and not funded by the county,” said Carman. Or, he said, it could be publicly owned and privately run, but, either way, the management should be out of the county’s hands.

“We’re not managing it properly and we need to do something differently; we need a professional to come in and give us more direction than just, ‘Build a new one,’” Carman said.

“I think hydraulic fracturing should be more a state and federal issue, and right now I don’t take a stand on it,” he said. If the county legislature were forced to take a stance on the issue, he said he would do his research.

Carman said he thought there was a human element involved in the re-districting of the legislature.

“There was a commission and there were public hearings,” he said. The last time a re-districting occurred, areas were taken away from District 29 that have now been returned to it, said Carman.

“I don’t think you will ever make everyone happy, and I am going to run based on the lines I am given,” he said.

Carman has said in the past that he would support reducing the size of the county legislature.

“One of my fears, however, is that I have heard other counties have reduced the size of the legislature, but redistributed salaries, so they didn’t save money,” he said. If the size were reduced and money were saved, Carman said, he would support that, but if there were less representation and no money saved, he wouldn’t see the benefit.

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