GHENT—The Town of Ghent has a full slate of candidates on this November’s ballot. Craig Simmons is running for supervisor on the Republican and Conservative lines and current Town Board member Mallory Mort is running on the Democratic and Working Families lines.
They are running for the post left open by current town Supervisor Michael Benvenuto, who is not running for reelection this year. The term is for 4 years.
Also on the Ghent ballot is Town Clerk/Tax Collector Michelle Radley, who is running on the Democratic, Republican and Conservative lines unopposed. Highway Superintendent Benjamin Perry is also running on the same party lines unopposed.
Laurie Johnson and Carl Quinn are running on the Democratic and Working Families lines for the two open seats on the Town Board. Wally Engel and Scott C. Myers are running on Republican and Connect Ghent lines for the Town Board. Town Board seats are also for 4 years.
Early voting at the Board of Elections, 401 State Street, Hudson, and at the Martin H. Glynn Office Building in Valatie starts October 23 and runs through October 31; Election Day is Tuesday, November 2.
Candidate profile questionnaires were sent to both supervisor candidates.
Craig Simmons, 55, is a registered Republican and has been endorsed by the Conservative Party and the Connect Ghent Party. He has been on the Chatham Central School Board (CCSD) for 9 years. His current term is up in 2022. He received the 2019 Capital Area School Development Association “Friends of Education” award. He was also on NY Angus Association for 8 years.
Mr. Simmons owns Simmons Automotive in Ghent. He and his wife, Catherine, have three children, all of whom graduated from the CCSD, and they now have two grandchildren attending the school.
Mr. Simmons ran unsuccessfully for the Town Board seat 2019.
In his candidate statement, Mr. Simmons wrote, “I’m a third generation Ghent farmer, raising crops, cattle, and bees. I am a 35-year owner of Simmons Automotive Inc. Along with that, I am a father, grandfather, and a friend to all.
“Open governance is important to me. Ghent needs full transparency. I’d like to keep our meetings open and easy to attend for all. Zoom, for example, has proven to be a great tool for community engagement.
“It’s important to create programs for our seniors and youth. Building community will keep Ghent the way we all know and love.
“Ghent also needs common sense problem solving. We need to bring our neighbors together, and get everyone involved. Along with that, I will bring budget management experience to the board. I’ve had the opportunity to learn and work on CCSD’s budget over the past 10 years as a member of the Chatham School Board.”
Mallory Mort, 64, is a registered Democrat, and he has been endorsed by the Democratic, Working Families and Ghent United parties. He is currently in his second term on the Ghent Town Board.
Mr. Mort has a BA degree in Animal Production from Pennsylvania State University. He is the former president of the NY Angus Association, current vice present of NY Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. and a member of Protect Ghent. He is also a member of the county Planning Board and the county Agriculture and Farmland Protection Board. He is a member of the town’s Climate Smart Committee. Mr. Mort has worked at Gallagher’s Stud for 42 years, the last 16 as farm manager. He and his wife, Karen Roberts Mort, have three grown sons.
His candidate statement says, “My two terms on the Town Board, extensive community service, and 42 years working at Gallagher’s Stud Farm have helped me understand the needs of our residents and prepared me to serve as the financial officer of the town. As town supervisor, I will pursue fiscally responsible ways to satisfy the needs and goals of our residents. I have participated in six budget processes (all falling below the state mandated cap) and I, along with the current supervisor, just completed my second successful labor union negotiation and developed an affordable health insurance solution for the town’s employees.
“For years, I have made Climate Smart Initiatives a priority, and have obtained grant funding for projects such as solar panels on municipal buildings and an electric charging station in town. Going forward, I will focus on other infrastructure projects, such as broadband, that will help our schools, families, and businesses thrive.”
For more information about Mr. Mort’s campaign go to www.facebook.com/ghentdems
To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email