KINDERHOOK–Four people are running for two seats on the Town Board this November in the county’s most populous municipality.
Town Supervisor Patrick Grattan is running unopposed for his seat, as is Town Justice Lisa M. Mills. Both Mr. Grattan and Judge Mills are indorsed by the Republicans and will be on the Republican, Conservative, Independent and Reform party lines on the ballot. Current Highway Superintendent John Ruchel is running unopposed for reelection and has been indorsed by both the Town Republican and Democratic committees. He will be on the Democrat and Republican ballot lines.
Incumbent Councilman Paul Voltz is not running for reelection but Councilwoman Patsy Leader is and will be on the Republican, Conservative, Independent and Reform party lines. Joining Ms. Leader on those ballot lines is Sally Hogan.
Bernadette Powis and Jake Samascott are running on the Democratic and Good for Kinderhook ballot lines.
The board seats are for a four-year term.
Each candidate filled out a questionnaire sent to them from the Columbia Paper. Below are brief bios of each candidate and a statement:
Election Day is Tuesday, November 7.
Ms. Hogan, 42, is a member of the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals and has been a poll watcher and primary election inspector for the county Board of Elections. She is the Friends of the Kinderhook Library Board Membership chair; a volunteer for Northern Columbia Lions Club and a member of the Kinderhook Republican Committee. Ms. Hogan is enrolled in the Conservative Party.
She is currently a stay-at-home mom and has a business administration and computer science degree from SUNY. She lives in Kinderhook with her husband, Sean Hogan, and one child. For more information about her campaign email or find her on Facebook at HoganForKinderhook.
Her candidate statement says: “I am running for Kinderhook Town Board because I am committed to helping the people of Kinderhook and I want to give back to our great community.
Although our town is headed in a good direction, we face many important challenges that must be addressed. The opioid epidemic is a nationwide travesty that is hitting us close to home. I am committed to enacting realistic measures that we as a community can take to reduce this problem and am working with the county to combat this epidemic.
“As a fiscal conservative representing us all, I will seek ways to lower the town property tax burden and make living here more affordable. I believe we can rethink the use of existing resources and improve overall efficiencies by consolidating services. My main goal is to make Kinderhook an attractive location where businesses and families thrive while preserving our heritage.”
Ms. Leader, 65, who is enrolled in the Independence Party, has been on the Town Board for 8 years. She has also been on the executive board of the Kinderhook Lake Association for over 20 years. As a Town Board member, she sits on the Ichabod Crane School District’s Drug Abuse committee and the school’s Community Committee. Ms. Leader is a life member of Women of the Outdoors and is on the board of the Columbia-Greene Friends of the NRA, life member of the Tri-Village Bowhunters and the Tri-Village Rod and Gun Club.
She is a congregant of St. Joseph’s Spiritual Center and St. John the Baptist Church. She lives in Niverville and works part-time at the county clerk’s office.
Her candidate statement reads: “It has been an honor to serve on the Town Board for the past 8 years. I thank everyone who has supported me. I want to continue working hard for all the people of the Town of Kinderhook.
“My first priority is to continue to work with the school to fight opioid addiction. In the past year, I worked to bring counselors from the county Department of Human Services into the high school. I want programs expanded into the middle and elementary schools to educate and prevent drug abuse from ruining young lives.
“I’d also like to see law enforcement expand its presence in our community. Not only for increased anti-drug enforcement, but also teaching the community how to report suspected drug dealing.
“As a mother and grandmother, I know that we must keep Kinderhook safe for everyone. I am a candidate who will help you, regardless of party affiliation.”
Ms. Powis, 69, a registered Democrat, is running for Town Board on the Democratic and Good For Kinderhook party lines. She is the recording secretary for the Friends of the Kinderhook Memorial Library Executive Council; a member of the county Treatment Services workgroup; a member of county Safe at Home workgroup; and a member of the Steering Committee for the newly formed Village Movement of Northern Columbia County.
Ms. Powis is a retired nurse practitioner who worked at an adult out-patient psychiatric clinic in Queens. She and her husband, William Mancini, live in Kinderhook. She has a AAS in nursing, a BS from St. John’s University; a MS from Pace University and a degree from Stony Brook University to be a psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner.
More information about her campaign is at www.goodforkinderhook.com.
Her candidate statement is: “As a retired nurse practitioner with over 35 years experience, I’m passionate about our community’s public health issues. After attending board meetings for over two years, I see we have work to do as a community to address the opioid/addiction epidemic and the need for increased support services for the elderly. As a member of the County Treatment Service workgroup and the Safe at Home workgroup, I will advocate for effective treatment services for persons with addiction and their families and for our elderly.
In my opinion, town government is most vibrant when board members and community members work together to explore options, set goals and make decisions that impact the future of the town. We need to revitalize our board by creating standing committees of motivated and inquisitive community members to explore the challenges and opportunities facing our town. Together, we can build a community that faces problems squarely and works for all its members.
“I’m asking for your vote on November 7.”
Mr. Samascott, 35, is also running on the Democratic and Good For Kinderhook party lines. He is not enrolled in a political party. He served on the town’s Planning Board for eight years. As a community member, Mr. Samascott volunteers and sponsors many events and projects including developing the butterfly garden in Mill’s Park in the Village of Kinderhook; providing hay wagon rides and pumpkins for the OK Fall Festival; hosting the annual Red Apple Run to raise funds for the Valatie Free Library; and hosting the Haunted Corn Maze to raise funds for Ichabod Crane Central graduating class at Samascott’s Garden Market. He is a long-time sponsor of Northern Columbia Little League teams. He makes farm donations to various local groups including the FASNY Fireman’s Home, Hawthorn Valley Association, Food Allergy Research and Education, Catskill Animal Sanctuary and the Catskill Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
Mr. Samascott is a 4th generation farmer at Samascott Orchards in Kinderhook. He has three young children and is married to Jennifer Ose-MacDonald. He is an Ichabod Crane High School graduate and attended SUNY Cobbleskill. Information about his campaign is at www.goodforkinderhook.com.
His candidate statement is: “As a lifelong member of the Town of Kinderhook I love living here and am thrilled to be raising my three children here. Kinderhook is a special place and I hope to serve as a member of the Town Board to ensure that it remains that way. I recognize that the rural character of Kinderhook is vulnerable to over development by corporations and needs to be protected through thoughtful zoning and adequate support for locally owned small businesses. I would like to see the town proactively engage residents in decision making and in evaluating future investment of public funds. We need to have a community-wide discussion surrounding a development strategy in accordance with the town Comprehensive Plan and without increasing the cost of living here or sacrificing the benefits of living rurally. I believe in Kinderhook and humbly ask that you believe in my determination to safeguard its future.”