BALLSTON SPA — Village voters will be deciding between five candidates running for two seats on the Village Board during Tuesday’s village election, as the village holds its first non-partisan election — one in which the political parties aren’t directly involved in endorsing or supporting candidates.
With incumbent Noah Shaw not seeking re-election to a second-term, fellow incumbent Shawn Raymond — who ran with Shaw as a Democrat in 2017 — is running as a team with local community volunteer Ben Baskin on the “A Better BSpa” ballot line.
The other three candidates — Robert Bush Jr., Sean Mulvaney, and Mary Price-Bush (unrelated to Robert Bush) — said that although they are each running on their own ballot line, they are all supporting each other, even though only two of them can win. Bush, Mulvaney and Price-Bush emphasized their long ties to the village. Bush and Mulvaney are both volunteer firefighters, while Price-Bush is the wife of Police Chief Dave Bush.
Bush objected to the nominating petitions filed by Raymond and Baskin, but the Saratoga County Board of Elections late last month ruled against the objection.
Bob Bush is a lifelong resident. He is a firefighter with the Union Fire Company and is a member of the Union Fire Company Marching Band, the MacBoston 18 Truck NYS Fallen Firefighter Memorial, and the American Radio Relay League. He has served as a sports coach. He works for the Warren-Saratoga-Washington-Hamilton-Essex BOCES as a network analyst, which he said gives him skills as a “problem-solver.”
Mulvaney is also a village native, a third-generation firefighter, and a member of the Sons of American Legion Post 234. He has worked for the town of Milton for 13 years, most recently in the Highway Department, and owns a lawn-care business.
Mulvaney said he believes investing in the village’s Department of Public Works should be a top priority. “A lot of taxpayers care about their streets being plowed and their leaf pickup, and we really need to focus on getting them what they want,” he said earlier this month during an online forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Saratoga County.
Price-Bush grew up in South Glens Falls but has lived in Ballston Spa for 30 years. She has worked at the Saratoga County Airport in Milton for the past 13 years, saying she has expanded her administrative skills to include accounting, purchasing, communications and compliance with federal regulations.
“I actually do believe in community and diversity and that more neighborhoods should have voices,” Price-Bush said. “I will bring a fresh perspective and a willingness to listen and work with others.”
Price-Bush, Mulvaney and Bush all acknowledged they would sometimes have conflicts of interest and need to recuse themselves from some Village Board decisions, including those involving the Police Department for Price-Bush, and the Fire Department for Mulvaney and Bush. But they said they had the best interests of the village at heart.
Raymond is a civil engineer and noted he has no potential conflicts of interest. As qualifications, he noted he was part of the group of citizens that constructed Kelley Park. He was also on the task force that led the Malta Elementary School preservation efforts and the design of Gordon Creek Elementary School.
He said a critical priority for the village needs to be an inventory of the condition of its aging water, sewer and building infrastructure, saying a detailed inventory is essential to securing grants to pay for improvements.
Ben Baskin is a non-profit and public health professional with a background in senior services. For many years he helped lead the advocacy group Smart Growth Ballston, most prominently known for a successful effort to twice keep Walmart from building a store south of the village. He is currently a member of the town of Ballston Planning Board and Clean Energy Committee. He has served as president and treasurer of the Ballston Area Community Center.
Baskin said he wants to support “smart growth” policies that play up the village’s character and uniqueness, and noted that the commitment of trustees is critical as the village prepared to update its comprehensive land use and zoning plan in the next year or two.
The election will be Tuesday, March 16, with voting at the Eagle Matt Lee and Union fire stations. Voting will be from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.