K’hook choosing 2 for board, 1 for judge

KINDERHOOK – Two candidates are running for town justice and three are running for two open board seats in the November 5 election.
Pasty Leader, an independent, is running for re-election to the board on the Republican, Independence and Conservative lines. Paul Voltz, a Republican, and Barbara-anne Johnson-Heimroth, a Democrat, are also candidates for the two available seats. The two candidates with the most votes will take office in January.

Current board member Glen Smith is not running for re-election.


For town judge, Lisa M. Mills, the incumbent, and Tom Puchner are running. Ms. Mills is running on the Republican, Independence and Conservative lines. Mr. Puchner is on the Democrat and Working Families lines.

The positions of town supervisor and highway superintendent are also on the ballot in Kinderhook, the most populous municipality in the county. But both incumbent Supervisor Pat Grattan (R) and incumbent Highway Superintendent John Ruchel (D) are running unopposed.
Profiles of the candidates based on information in questionnaires from The Columbia Paper appear below in alphabetical order for the contested races.

Town Justice
Lisa M. Mills

Lisa Mills is the is running for re-election for town justice after serving one four-year term. She has an Associate’s Degree from Broome Community College, a BA from SUNY Oneonta and juris doctor degree from Albany Law School. She is currently an attorney at Fitzsimmons, Mack & Mills in Valatie, and has worked for the Columbia County Attorney’s Office in Hudson (2003-05) and firms in Albany and Oneonta.
Ms. Mills is a member of the state’s Third Department Committee on Professional Standards, and the Legal Aid Private Attorney Involvement Committee. She also works as a legal aid volunteer conducting free divorce clinics for indigent litigants. Judge Mills is married with three children.
She declined to make a candidate statement saying that judges and judicial candidates are prohibited from speaking on issues.

Tom Puchner
Tom Puchner is running for town justice for the Democratic Party. He has a BA from the University of Vermont and JD & MS degrees in Environmental Law from the Vermont Law School. Mr. Puchner is currently an attorney with the law firm of Phillips Lytle LLP in Albany. Previously, he worked for judges on the Rhode Island and Vermont supreme courts. He is a member and director of the Air & Waste Management Association of North Eastern New York. 
Mr. Puchner has served as Chairman on the Kinderhook Town Zoning Board of Appeals and he currently volunteers as a soccer coach for the town recreation program. He and his wife, Stephanie, a teacher, have two sons, Alex and Nicky.
In a candidate statement, Mr. Puchner wrote, “My goal as a town justice of the Town of Kinderhook would be to ensure that all legal and constitutional protections are applied equally and fairly to everyone who comes before the Court, while at the same time upholding the laws of the State of New York. That is what justice is all about. I would like to see the Kinderhook Town Court be more connected to the community. If elected, I would seek to find ways to do so, such as age-appropriate outreach programs to provide education about the work of our court system.”

Town Board
Barbara-anne Johnson-Heimroth

Barbara-anne Johnson-Heimroth is currently serving her first term on the Ichabod Crane school board, and serving on the Town Board would not conflict with her running for the Town Board, according to the candidate. She is an Ichabod Crane High School graduate with a master’s degree in education from the College of St. Rose and has been the owner and director of the Little Wonders Early Childhood Enrichment Center Inc., in Valatie, for the past 10 years. Before that, she worked for Columbia Opportunities Inc. with the Head Start Program.
She grew up in the Village of Valatie and raised her five children in the town of Kinderhook. Three of her four grandchildren currently attend Ichabod Crane.
Ms. Johnson-Heimroth is a member of the Kinderhook Lake Association, East Coast Riders, the Kinderhook Democratic Committee and the Town of Kinderhook Recreation Commission.
In a statement to The Columbia Paper, Ms. Johnson-Heimroth wrote, “I am vested in Kinderhook’s future. I am at a point in my life where I have time to offer to my community and would welcome the chance to do so by serving on the Town Board. If elected to serve as a council person for the Town of Kinderhook Board, I will be fiscally responsible with the town’s resources, I will support policies that would increase the attractiveness of the town to potential residents and businesses and support policies that would serve to keep all of us safe.”

Patsy Leader
Patsy Leader is currently serving as deputy supervisor for the town and has been on the board for four years. She has a degree in fashion and is a retired businesses owner. Ms. Leader is a member of St. John’s Church in Valatie, a life member of the NRA, and a board member of the Kinderhook Lake Improvement Association.
On the board, Ms. Leader has helped organize a town Neighborhood Watch group and she sat on the Martin H. Glynn Committee, which dealt with the sharing of space in what is now the municipal building.
In a statement, Ms. Leader wrote, “For the last four years on the board I have been the community’s voice. I believe in watching over our seniors, youth and all in the town. I have enjoyed helping and being there for them. I always have a caring ear and hand for them.”

Paul Voltz
Paul Voltz is running on the Republican, Conservative and Independence lines. He has a BA from SUNY Plattsburgh and MBA from Pace University. He is a retired sales executive in the telecommunication industry who currently works in real estate and drives a bus for the Ichabod Crane School District part-time.
Mr. Votlz has lived in the town for 23 years. He and his wife of 31 years, Kim, have two children.
In a statement, Mr. Votlz wrote, “I believe my life experiences will allow me to make a positive contribution to the Kinderhook Town Board. My 30-plus years of business experience as well as my educational background will be an asset in dealing with budgeting and expense decisions. These decisions directly affect our ability to control property taxes and town expenses. More recently, I have operated my own business as a NY State certified residential real estate appraiser and as a real estate entrepreneur. This experience will bring a valuable perspective to dealing with land use and zoning issues.”

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