The speedy development in Halfmoon makes the town stand out among its neighbors and is also a big issue for the town supervisor election.
Ballot Lines: Democrat, Working Families
Education: B.A. in biology from SUNY-Oswego
Experience: Health administrator and current director of professional services at the state Psychological Association
Family: Married with a daughter, 8, and son, 2
Ballot Lines: Republican, Conservative, Independence
Education: Associate degree in applied science from HVCC; attended accredited financing school on loans and banking
Experience: Town supervisor; co-owned a car dealership; served on Zoning Board and Town Board
Family: Married with two boys, ages 12 and 14.
Democrat Deanna Stephenson is hoping to unseat the two-term incumbent, Republican Mindy Wormuth. Wormuth was first elected supervisor in 2007, after serving four years on the Town Board and as deputy supervisor.
Halfmoon is regarded as one of the fastest-growing towns in the state, and Wormuth said she has helped enable this explosion by removing barriers for businesses and streamlining development processes, which have encouraged development. In many respects, this is why she got into politics, as she had been operating a car dealership with her husband when she set her sights on government regulations.
“Sometimes I feel like government has a tendency to overregulate small businesses and big businesses too,” she said.
Sometimes the town can’t simply remove mandates imposed by the state or county, and Wormuth feels she has been effective in implementing these orders in a way that the town suffered the least.
Stephenson got in the race because she felt the town was developing rapidly, but without a cohesive plan or vision for the future. While planning on running for a seat on the Shenendehowa Board of Education, she said it became obvious that development of the town was being done willy-nilly.
“There needs to be a strategic plan,” she said.
Stephenson has also been highly critical of Wormuth’s campaign finances, which included $4,000 in illegal contributions that Wormuth had to return. Wormuth has repeatedly rejected suggestions that developers have bought access with thousands in campaign contributions and promised that her campaign filings would be done correctly from now on; she had missed filings in past election years.
Wormuth said that as supervisor she has tried to react to the will of her constituents. Citing a new recreation facility and recently created trails, she said her administration has always responded to the community.
The town’s budgeting practices have drawn fire from Stephenson, who said her first priority is to change the way budgets are done. She argued the current method hides the town’s true standing.
“On day one it would become a new budget,” Stephenson said. “A fiscal emergency plan would have to be put into place.”
She feels she is adequately prepared for this task, having led teams of more than 45 people as a health administrator and dealt with budgets of more than $45 million. “Leadership is something I do well,” she said.
For her part, Wormuth suggested that Stephenson’s attitude didn’t reflect the realities of governing. “I respect Mrs. Stephenson’s challenge,” she said, “but I feel like unless you come up through the ranks you don’t understand how town government functions.”
Both candidates have garnered support from federal politicians, with U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook, backing Wormuth and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., supporting Stephenson.
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Categories: Schenectady County