GHENT–The town Republican Committee has endorsed candidates for the upcoming party caucus, choosing Michael “Mike” Benvenuto to lead the ticket as candidate for town supervisor. Mr. Benvenuto is a lifelong resident of Ghent and former director of the Columbia County Probation Department.
In a release announcing the endorsements, GOP Committee Chairwoman Tara Groom said that incumbent Supervisor Larry Andrews has decided to not run after 33 years serving the town, 14 of them as supervisor. The release also said that incumbent town Highway Superintendent Mike Losa, who is completing his third term, has decided not to run again, and the committee is supporting Benjamin “Ben” Perry for Town Highway Superintendent.
Mr. Perry has over 18 years of experience in the mechanical and constructions industry and has been employed in the town Highway Department for the past five years as head mechanic and equipment manager.
For town clerk/tax collector incumbent Michelle “Shelley” Radley has received the Republican endorsement; she is seeking her first full four-year term. Mrs. Radley ran unopposed in 2011 to serve out the remaining two years of the late Rosemarie Elliott’s term.
Town justice incumbent David “Butch” Harrison will run for his fourth term with the committee’s backing. “I’m ready and pleased to be running with the support of the Ghent Republican Committee,” Mr. Harrison said in the release.
For the two seats on the Town Board, incumbent Larry VanBrunt and newcomer and lifelong town resident Charles “Chuckie” Wood have the committee’s endorsement.
“Over the course of two meetings the committee met and had respectful and insightful dialogue with these candidates. I think the future of Ghent is bright with this experienced and dedicated group of residents,” said Chairwoman Groom in the release. She praised Mr. Andrews, the outgoing supervisor, saying, “It’s a sad day for Ghent that Larry is retiring. He has made his mark on Ghent and we are forever grateful for his dedication and sacrifice.”
She said Mr. Benvenuto has been serving on the Zoning Board of Appeals and regularly attends Town Board meetings. She called him “a conscientious public administrator” who has budget and policy experience. She also described him as a good listener.
The Ghent Republican Committee held its nominating caucus Saturday, July 13 at the Ghent Town Hall from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Upon closing of the nominations, the caucus was adjourned and will re-convene at a later time for the purpose of voting on the list of nominations for the respective offices.