CHATHAM – This election season two seats are open on the Town Board and two candidates from each major party are running.
The two Republicans, Maria Lull and Henry V. Swartz Jr., are the incumbents running for re-election. Ms. Lull and Mr. Swartz are also on the Conservative and Independence lines.
Landra B. Haber and Kandace M. Easton are running on the Democratic Party line, as well as the Working Families and the Community First lines.
Joseph M. Rickert, the current Highway Supervisor, and Beth Ann Rippel, the current town clerk, are running unopposed for their seats. They have both been endorsed by the Republican, Democrat, Conservative and Independence parties.
As for the open board seats, the two candidates with the most votes on November 5 will be elected for four-year terms.
The following candidates are profiled in alphabetical order.
Kandace Eaton, endorsed by Upper Hudson Labor Council and Eleanor’s Legacy, retired from the Schodack Central Schools after teaching for 31 years in 2011, where she was named Teacher of the Year in 2003. She has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from SUNY Oneonta.
She has been Chatham Democrats Association treasurer as well as a 4-H volunteer leader and County Fair judge, coached cross country and track teams at Maple Hill, was director of the Schodack School Ski Club, and part of the Schodack Business/School Advisory Group. She and her husband, Daniel, have two sons, Andrew and Sean.
In a candidate statement, Ms. Eaton writes, “I believe that adequate planning and communications are vital to our town. Planning is our ability to prepare for big-ticket budget items like repairing bridges, roads, and town buildings. Poor planning can be the cause of constant up and down taxing of our citizens. We need to look ahead to make Chatham ready for our young and elderly citizens.”
She also wrote, “Citizens of the community should be able to rest assured that the members of the Town Council are working on their behalf. Effective communication between the Town Council and the community will ensure outcomes that will benefit the basic functions of living, working and owning property in the Town of Chatham.”
Landra Haber is retired after many years working with nonprofits and in education. Most recently she was an information and grants specialist at the New York State Court Appointed Special Advocates Association (CASANYS), where she had previously served two years as an AmeriCorps VISTA member. Prior to that she was publications director at the Mental Health Association, and, before moving Chatham, she worked at the Columbia University School of Social Work.
Ms. Haber is a graduate of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She will have been married to her husband Ron for 47 years this November. They have four grown children. She grew up in California and Illinois, and lived in New York City for 25 years. She and her husband have lived in Chatham near Kinderhook Lake for 20 years.
She was elected to the Ichabod Crane Board of Education five times (1996 to 2009) and was the only Chatham resident on the board. She was the board parliamentarian as well as a member of the Policy, Labor Negotiations, Strategic Planning, Health and Safety, Communications, and Attendance committees.
Ms. Haber’s community actives include being president of the Chatham Democrats from 2012 to the present; North Chatham Library, member of Adult Program Planning Committee, 2012-present; Valatie Free Library Board of Trustees, member and secretary 2009-2011; and she served for many years as a PTA president, both at Ichabod Crane and in New York City.
In her candidate statement, Ms. Habor wrote, “We need to work together to keep what we value about Chatham while meeting present and future challenges; focus on what we can achieve together without being distracted by issues that serve only to divide our community; and develop a straight-forward budget process that emphasizes long-term planning. We also need to establish a fiscal committee consisting of board and community members to provide financial oversight and advice to the town and council. Working collaboratively is key to making things work well. When people listen to each other with respect, solutions can almost always be found.”
Maria Lull has been on the Town Board since 2010. Before being elected to the board she was deputy chair of the town Planning Board for 14 years. She was also appointed by town’s Citizens Advisory Committee for Capital Improvements; and served on the Chatham Ethics Committee. She is also on the Chatham Agricultural Partnership Board.
Since 1997 Ms. Lull has owned and is the principal licensed real estate broker for Schoenfeld French & Lull Real Estate in Chatham Center. She also owned and was manager of the thoroughbred and sport horse breeding facility at Halcyon Hills Farm, a 300 acre horse farm, from 1977 to 2002. She has lived and worked in Chatham for 36 years, and has two adult sons.
Ms. Lull is a graduate of the State University of New York Empire State College, with a BS Business. She also has pursued advanced training in her field from the Graduate Realtor Institute, NYS Association of Realtors® Instructor Training Institute, is a state Department of State certified real estate instructor and a listed real estate broker in New York and Massachusetts and was named “Realtor of the Year” by the Columbia-Greene Board of Realtors 2007-08. She has also served on several state and county real estate organizations.
She was on the Stratton Veterans Administration and Albany College of Pharmacy’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee for three years; past president of the Northern Columbia County Rotary and chairman of the Patriot Flight Committee which raised $3,500 for Veterans of the WWII Patriot Flight Program
Ms. Lull attends St. James Church, is on the Pastoral Council and has chaired Buildings/Grounds Committee for 19 years. She is also a past director of the Columbia Greene Memorial Hospital Foundation; past president and board member of the Columbia County Historical Society; member of the Columbia County Council on the Arts; and master of foxhounds and board member of the Old Chatham Hunt.
In her statement, Ms. Lull wrote, “As a Councilwoman for the Chatham Town Board for the past four years, I have worked diligently to represent the voters of Chatham in establishing programs and policies for the effective delivery of town services; adopting ordinances, laws, regulations, and rules for the protection and welfare of the town; and adopt the annual budget and financial plan. I have been an educator and interrupter of public opinion. I have brought people together on issues. I have built trust in my capacity on the Town Board. While I have had the opportunity to shape policy in governing the town for the past four years, my presence on the board has been a model of civility, cooperation and dedication, which has contributed to effective local government. I believe in working for the needs of the town and keeping a balance with the environment and the local economy. I will continue to work to improve our quality of life and strengthen our community so that our children can grow up in a town where their hopes and dreams can come true.”
Henry Swartz Jr.
An Ichabod Crane School District graduate, Henry Swartz is the owner of Hatfield Joyce Plumbing and Heat in Valatie. He worked at the company for 20 years and became the owner six years ago. Mr. Swartz grew up in Niverville and moved to the Town of Chatham 34 years ago.
He has served one term on the Town Board. On the board he serves on Zoning Implementation and the Finance committees.
He has been on member of the Niverville Fire Company for 35 years; member and past president of county’s Firefighters Association and sits on the county Traffic Safety Board. He also has a paid part-time position with the Sheriff’s Office as the Emergency Management Department Director.
In a phone interview, Mr. Swartz said, “I enjoy doing the job, helping the community. We don’t have a lot of big issues in Chatham, just keeping the property taxes low.” He pointed out that the biggest issues in the town currently are the construction projects on the Albany Turnpike and White Mills bridges. He said that construction was already underway in East Chatham on the Albany Turnpike bridge off Route 295, paid for by CSX, the railroad company that owns the tracks and the bridge. Construction on the White Mills Bridge, which also goes over train tracks, is starting soon and is being paid for by federal and state funds, with the town paying 5%.
To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .