HILLSDALE—There are two candidates running for a three-year term as town supervisor. Former Town Justice and Councilman Christian G. Kersten and Councilwoman Robina Ward. The term was created by the resignation of Town Supervisor Peter Cipkowski, who was in the first year of his second term when he moved to California.
Each of the candidates responded to a questionnaire from The Columbia Paper which includes a statement by each.
Christian G. Kersten, 71, is running for Town Supervisor on the Democratic Party line.
He is married to Mary Lou Kersten. They have adult children—Michael, James and Hilary.
Mr. Kersten was educated at Long Island University, New York University Graduate School of Public Administration, University of California Management Institute, Harvard University Institute of Educational Management and NYS Judicial Certification Program.
He is a retired university and museum executive. Positions include: vice chancellor, University of California at Santa Barbara; VP at University at Albany; Senior VP at Albany Law School; chief advancement officer at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum; and director of development at Camphill Village USA.
His community activities include: president of the Columbia County Habitat for Humanity and board member of the Columbia-Greene Community College Foundation.
Previous political offices held are Hillsdale Town Justice, 2000-2007, and Hillsdale Town Board member, 2009-2011.
In a candidate statement Mr. Kersten wrote:
“Hillsdale has been our full-time home for 33 years. I know and love this community. As a senior officer at major universities, museums and not-for-profit organizations, I worked with executive teams over four decades to achieve common objectives, such as negotiating what became the third campus at SUNY Albany through a public/private partnership, among many other projects in my career. These leadership experiences, together with a decade of service as town justice, Town Board member and current volunteer leadership roles at the county level, have prepared me to bring our town together through collaborative engagement to address current challenges and move exciting projects forward, as well as give Hillsdale a strong voice at the county Board of Supervisors. Inclusive, focused and caring leadership matters.”
To contact Mr. Kersten’s campaign email
Robina Ward, 71, is running for Town Supervisor on the Hillsdale Unity Party line.
She was born in London, England, and educated at the University of Massachusetts.
Ms. Ward is a retired fashion industry executive and is married to Timothy Powers.
She has served on the Hillsdale Town Board for five years (2015-20). Her community activities include the Hillsdale Fire Company; Hillsdale Library, VP Board of Trustees; member and chair of various Comprehensive Plan town committees; and Mask Maker.
In a candidate statement Ms. Ward wrote: “I’m so glad that we’ve been able to run a campaign focused on issues, experience and achievements for the town of Hillsdale.
I’ve greatly enjoyed talking to the community about the pressing issues Hillsdale faces, specifically the smart planning that is needed now that the Rail Trail is nearing completion from Wassaic to Hillsdale. Simply stated, we do not have time to waste and I pledge to be a full-time, on-site supervisor ready on day one.
Also, I’ve been following the town budgets for almost two decades now. I know every expenditure, every source of income, every account intimately. We’re facing a Covid-related loss of tax revenue and my knowledge will help us through.
I’m extraordinarily proud of the endorsement from the majority of Hillsdale’s elected officials and plan to keep up the very productive teamwork.
It’s time we come together for our town. Please vote for a unified Hillsdale.”