QUEENSBURY – Protecting the environment, attracting more visitors to the area and helping businesses recover from the pandemic are among the challenges facing five candidates seeking four Queensbury general supervisor seats.
The four incumbent Republicans – Doug Beaty, Brad Magowan, Rachel Seeber and Mike Wild – are running for re-election for a two-year term and are being challenged by Democrat Brent McDevitt. Beaty, Magowan and Seeber also run under the Team Queensbury banner and McDevitt and Wild have the Conservative Party voting line.
The race was controversial with accusations of theft of signs and a candidate’s criminal past brought up.
Beaty is running for her sixth term. He said in an email that he believed some of the accomplishments of the last quarter were restoring hot meals for seniors and funding $ 50,000 in occupancy tax for Special Olympics. He said the county had also improved its infrastructure, paved roads throughout the county and protected waterways.
He said if re-elected he would work to get more face-to-face contact for the elderly locked up and provide them with hot meals five days a week.
He said he will continue to be a tax watchdog for taxpayers and ensure that the $ 12 million in federal stimulus is spent wisely.
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“It’s your money, not the supervisors’ money,” he said.
Beaty said he was excited about the new Ice Castles event in Lake George, which he says is a huge boost in generating more tourists and residents all year round.
Beaty supports the bill requiring the inspection of septic tanks during the transfer of properties.
“I have been a leading voice in the protection of our lakes. We are losing our water quality (ie the lakes), we are losing the economic engine that benefits all residents of the county, which is tourism, ”he said.
Beaty said he brings “honesty, integrity, common sense and hard work” to the table. He added that he was not afraid to take a stand against the majority of the board after doing his homework. He cited examples of opposition to the airport runway extension project, which was canceled after the FAA said it was not necessary, and of working to hold Siemens accountable for the inability to realize the promised savings with the cogeneration plant. The county received a check for $ 500,000 as part of the settlement.
Brad Magowan has said he is running for re-election for his third term because he wants to continue listening to residents so they can have a voice. He thinks he can work with the other supervisors on goals that promote the health and stability of the county as it emerges from the pandemic.
Magowan said the board should focus on protecting the needs of its residents and how best to use the stimulus funds.
Magowan also supports the Septic Inspection Act.
“This is a policy change that must be made to protect our great bodies of water that we all love so much. We need to start as early as possible because our climate changes every year. Protecting our beauty is and should be the most important factor, ”he said.
Magowan said he brings a “blue collar” perspective to the board as an independent businessman. He worked for 38 years as a contractor and consultant in mechanics and electricity for the robotics industry.
“I know how hard life can be for all of us. I don’t pretend to be a politician and I don’t want to be known as one, ”he said. “Being able to work with and respect all of the elected candidates as well as the directors and senior staff in the county is an even stronger argument to bring me to the table.”
Brent McDevitt has said he sees himself as a budget conservative and wants to “tighten the key to spending and ensure that the money spent in Warren County is being spent in a conservative, smart and thoughtful way for residents. “.
He believes the county should not have given Beaty and Glens Falls 3rd Ward Supervisor Claudia Braymer a $ 6,000 stipend for their new positions as majority and minority leadership, respectively, on the board of directors. County. McDevitt said that traditionally a majority leader has held meetings with his caucus and there have been no such meetings.
McDevitt said he wanted to make sure federal stimulus money went into the hands of small business owners to help cover the costs of implementing security measures and other expenses they incurred to stay afloat.
McDevitt said he also supports the septic inspection program.
McDevitt’s criminal past has been a problem in the campaign. He was arrested for drunk driving in Moreau in 2005 and in Glens Falls in 2006. He was sentenced to probation for these incidents. However, he violated the terms of his probation by testing positive for three drugs he was not allowed to take.
He was sentenced in 2011 to 2-2 / 3 to 8 years in prison. That sentence was extended from 4 to 12 years after he was later charged with writing about an application for a real estate license.
McDevitt said he checked “no” when asked whether he had been convicted of a felony because it specified driving offenses. He was released in 2013.
McDevitt said his alcoholism started when he was a young man who partied too much, and then developed when he drank when he felt happy and sad to escape reality.
McDevitt said he had been sober for years. He said he believed his background to be an asset because it made him a more thoughtful person and more empathetic to people struggling with drugs and alcohol. PTSD and other mental health problems. If elected, he said he would work towards setting up a city-level drug treatment court.
McDevitt, who owns a solar power business, said he believes his business background is an asset.
“My message is to reach across the aisle, an ability to negotiate deals when it comes to issues that should not be messed up by bureaucracy,” he said.
Rachel Seeber is running for her second consecutive term and her fourth overall. She said her platform is accountability, fiscal conservatism, transparency and advocacy.
She said she is proud to have put a bipartisan leadership team in the county government. She highlighted several accomplishments over the past year.
“We have improved our ethics policy, developed regional partnerships, increased the accountability of our elected officials and brought transparency to new levels by making your voice heard every day in local government,” she said in an email.
Seeber said one of his top priorities is to continue building regional partnerships and developing spending plans for federal stimulus dollars.
Another important problem is the growth of tourism. She said the county could provide a real-time response on social media to tourists asking questions about what’s available and open and provide more resources for visitors.
Seeber said the county is fortunate to have several private and public advisory groups and task forces working together and sharing best practices to help grow the economy.
“Warren County is resilient and, in partnership with our NYS and the National Association of Counties, we are able to bounce back in a way that will result in a strong economy and illustrate that as a county we have been able to do more with less, without ever sacrificing the quality of service to our community, ”she said.
Protecting water bodies is another priority. It supports the septic inspection program.
Seeber said she remains committed to working together as a member of a team and believes she has the right leadership experience.
“I have set high standards and sometimes ambitious goals and targets for our board of directors which I am proud to say we have now exceeded, and together we continue to engage our audience in ways that we do. has never been done before, ”she said.
Mile Wild is running for his third term on the Board of Directors. He said he was proud to have started and led the Warren County Economic Recovery Task Force to help businesses work with the county to meet the challenges of the pandemic.
Among the results of these efforts are two better-than-expected tourist seasons. If re-elected, Wild said he would continue his efforts to expand tourism to a four-season industry. He would also like the county to reassess how it spends its occupancy tax funds.
“I defend the creation of a tourist investment reserve financed by the occupancy tax to provide major future opportunities,” he said.
He said he would continue to work to deliver utilities and investments that deliver the best possible return.
Wild said with broadband spreading to nearly 90% of the county, more residents are moving to the area and more will come in the future. He said he supported efforts to increase housing stock, transport infrastructure and child care facilities.
Wild said he supports the concept of septic inspections, but does not support the proposed law in its current form because it allows cities to opt out and does not cover all lakes and tributaries. He said the county should provide grants and / or low-interest loans to help homeowners who don’t have the resources to pay for needed repairs.
Wild said he regretted that politics was a problem on the board and sometimes became a platform for attacking opponents.
“I believe our residents deserve more from their leaders and I promise to continue to build relationships that allow us to focus on county business,” he said.
Wild said he doesn’t accept campaign donations, so he’s not beholden to anyone. He is also the only person on the board with extensive experience in large companies, he said. He retired from General Electric Co. in 2017.
“It allows me to ask the same type of questions that I have had to answer from senior management throughout my professional career. Hard questions lead to hard answers, ”he said.
Michael Goot covers politics, crime and the courts, Warren County, education and business. Contact him at 518-742-3320 or [email protected]