October 25, 2014

Candidates seek to fill local offices Nov. 4

Staff Reporter

Voters will decide in the Nov. 4 general election who will fill several local offices.
The following is a summary of the races.
Democrat Christine Applegate and Republican Matthew Denniston are running for a position on the Virgil Town Board. Applegate was chosen by the Virgil Democratic Committee to fill a one-year term after an election in November resulted in a tie between her and fellow Democratic candidate John Spallone.
Applegate said she wants to focus on fiscal responsibility for the town as well as on building a sense of community through hosting more community events. Having held various supervisory positions, including owning two restaurants in the 1970s and 1980s as well as managing a dining hall at SUNY Cortland, Applegate said she brings a wealth of experience to the board.
Denniston said his primary goals are to maintain good communication with all town officials at a time when the town is growing and to watch the budget and make sure the town has enough in its reserves if need arises. He also wants to find ways to foster a sense of community among local residents.
Denniston has not served in a political position before but said he is a lifelong resident of Virgil and works locally as a pharmacist at Cortland Regional Medical Center and wants to give back to the community.
Democrat Steven Phelps and Republican Thomas Brown are running for a position on the Truxton Town Board.
Brown said he opposes the Secure Ammunitions Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act, which tightened gun control measures throughout the state, and plans to fight for individual freedoms and constitutional rights. He also plans, if elected, to lobby local state representatives to remove the Gap Elimination Adjustment and to remove state regulations and mandates affecting local governments and economies, he said.
Under the GEA, the state promises schools a certain amount of aid but withholds a portion.
A physician assistant with Dermatology Associates of Ithaca, Brown has served on the boards of professional medical societies and hospital committees and has lobbied legislators in Albany about medical issues, activities which have given him experience in working with legislative bodies, he said.
Phelps could not be reached for comment.
Democrat Allan Gandelman and Republican Linda Jones are running to complete the final year of a seat now held by Republican Cortland County Legislator Newell Willcox, representing Legislative District 9, which covers parts of Homer. Willcox is stepping down at the end of the year, having been nominated by the party to finish the year for Republican Mike Park, who resigned from the Legislature earlier this year. The replacement only holds until the end of the year, and the Republican party has since nominated Jones as his replacement.
Gandelman lost last year’s election to Park. Gandelman said Thursday that his time teaching high school social studies at the Cortland Alternative School gave him a basic knowledge of how government works and his time running his own business, Main Street Farms, and serving on the boards of local nonprofits have given him experience working with people and making tough decisions.
If elected, Gandelman plans to market Cortland County better to encourage young professionals to move to and stay in the county. He also opposes the Ash for Trash deal the county is considering with Onondaga County.
Jones said she plans to draw on her experience as a small business owner for the last 30 years, running Double J Trading Post in Cortlandville. Running a small business in New York has taken a strong drive and strong commitment and these qualities will assist her on the Legislature if elected, she said.
Jones plans to work hard for her constituents, listen to them and solve problems for the long-term, not just the immediate future, she said.
Rebecca J. Smith is running uncontested for re-election to the Willet Town Board.
Taylor Town Clerk Jaymie Closson is running uncontested for re-election.
Democrat Maureen Reynolds is running for Tompkins County Clerk, and Democrat Ken Lansing is running for Tompkins County Sheriff, both unopposed.
In Dryden, voters will be choosing between Democrat Jules Ravo or Republican Daniel Tier III as town justice for a four-year term.
Republican John Norman is running for town justice in Groton.
In Lansing, W. David Banfield, a Democrat, is running unopposed for town justice.
Republican David Gould is running unopposed for re-election to the office of Cayuga County Sheriff. Voters will be deciding between Steven Pelc and Adam Duckett as county coroner.
Wendy Fellows-Baxter is uncontested for a town board seat.

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