Schenectady County

Parties endorse full slate of Legislature candidates

The full committees of both major political parties have endorsed candidates for upcoming Schenectad


Gazette Reporter

The full committees of both major political parties have endorsed candidates for upcoming Schenectady County Legislature races.

A total of eight seats will be decided this November, six of them now held by Democrats. Five of the Democrats are running for re-election. One of two Republicans on the county board is also seeking re-election. Democrats now hold 12 seats on the 15-seat board. Conservative Holly Vellano is part of the Democratic caucus, giving them a 13-vote bloc.

The full committee of the Schenectady County Republican Committee, meeting Monday, endorsed candidates for:

– District 1, comprising the northern half of the city: Peter Guidarelli and Richard Patierne. Guidarelli is a consultant for several companies and agencies in the region, including the Warren and Washington counties chapter of the state ARC. He earlier took himself out of consideration in the race for Schenectady mayor this coming November, citing the large amount of time needed to run a mayoral campaign and in serving as a full-time mayor if elected.

Guidarelli served on the county Legislature from 1996 to 2003, the last two years as its chairman. In 2003, he ran for mayor against Democrat Brian Stratton, losing by 312 votes out of 14,000 cast. He also served on the City Council from 1994 to 1995, when he decided to run for county Legislature.

Patierne is a building services manager at Union College, making his first bid for office. Tom Buchanan, chairman of the Republican committee, said Patierne has “family roots in city, knows many people and has been there for years.”

– District 2, comprising the southern half of the city: Patricia Zollinger. She is a computer analyst at the Thruway Authority. Last November, she created her own party, S.T.O.P., the Schenectady Taxpayers Outrage Party, in her bid to seek a seat on the Schenectady City Council. Zollinger got about half as many votes as her Democratic opponent. Last month, she enrolled as a Republican with the Board of Elections, having been previously unregistered with any major party. The change takes effect after the election, so she will have to be authorized by county Republicans to run on the party line in November.

– District 3, comprising Glenville and Niskayuna: Jim Buhrmaster, Mike Dietrich and Kurt Semon. Longtime Republican Legislator Robert Farley of Glenville is not running for re-election. He is one of two Republicans now on the Legislature.

Buhrmaster is seeking his third four-year term on the Legislature. He is from Glenville and chairs the town’s Republican Committee. In 2008, he ran against Democrat Paul Tonko for the 21st Congressional seat, vacated by Michael McNulty. Buhrmaster lost by 16,000 votes.

Dietrich owns a business in Glenville and is making his first bid for public office. Semon is a teacher who ran unsuccessful for a seat on the county Legislature in 2009.

– District 4, comprising Rotterdam, Duanesburg and Princetown: Wade Abbott and Stan Marchinkowski. Abbott is a member of the New York Tea Party Patriots and helped form the “No New Tax Party” in Rotterdam in 2009. Marchinkowski is a former Town Board member and investigator with the state Insurance Fund.

The Schenectady County Democratic Committee on Sunday endorsed candidates as follows:

– District 1: Robert Hoffman and Michael Petta. Hoffman is a private practice attorney making his first bid for office. The Democratic caucus appointed him to Vincent DiCerbo’s seat on Monday night. DiCerbo, a Democrat, resigned last month after he moved out of the county. Petta, who owns Petta’s Restaurant in Duane Avenue in Schenectady, is seeking a third four-year term on the board.

– District 2: Jeff McDonald and Gary Hughes, both of whom are seeking re-election. McDonald and his family own and operate several restaurants in the city, including the Van Dyck and the Stockade Inn. He is seeking his second four-year term. Hughes is director of communications for MVP. He is seeking a third four-year term.

– District 3: Cathy Gatta and Cathryn Bern-Smith, both of whom are newcomers to county races. Gatta is a former Scotia village trustee who replaced Susan Savage on the county Legislature. Savage is the former chair of the county legislature who left to take a job in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration. Bern-Smith works for the state Senate and ran last year for Glenville Town Board last year. She is a former director of the Schenectady County Long-Term Care Office.

– District 4: Angelo Santabarbara and Anthony Jasenski, both of whom are seeking re-election. Santabarbara is a professional engineer while Jasenski is a real estate agent, former Rotterdam Town Board member and a retired chief of police in Rotterdam. Both are seeking second four-year terms. Santabarbara was elected as a Republican in 2007, but switched his party enrollment to join the county Legislature’s Democratic majority in January 2010. He then ran unsuccessfully for the 105th Assembly District seat against Republican incumbent George Amedore. Democrats appointed Jasenski to the Legislature in 2007. He replaced Majority Leader Kent Gray, who resigned that year to take a job with the state.

County legislators serve for four years. There is one difference this year, however. The person elected to fill Savage’s seat in November will have to run again in 2013. Legislators receive a stipend of $14,000. Those with leadership positions also receive an additional stipend.

Categories: Schenectady County

Leave a Reply