Democratic Nominees Chosen

Photo by Robin Weinstein.
Photo by Robin Weinstein.
Photo by Robin Weinstein.

New Paltz Democrats cast their ballots at the Democratic Caucus in favor of current Town Supervisor Susan Zimet for Town Supervisor, Jeff Logan and Dan Torres for seats on the Town Board and Chris Marx for Highway Superintendent.

At Monday’s caucus, held at New Paltz High School, Zimet beat her opponent, Randall Leverette, with 178 votes to Leverette’s 78.

Former U.S. Congressman Maurice Hinchey was in attendance and briefly spoke at the start of the caucus to thank the audience for attending, while Zimet supporters outside hand- ed out Hinchey’s written endorsement of Zimet.

During her speech, Zimet emphasized her 20 years of experience in public service and her time spent as the Town Supervisor since being elected in 2011.

“We [Town Board] saved the taxpayers of New Paltz $1.5 million and lowered property taxes by 4.4 percent,” Zimet said during her speech. “I don’t have to learn how to do it, I’ve done it.”

Zimet also spoke about environmental issues — a common theme among all those run- ning in the caucus, including Leverette.

“The natural splendor in and around New Paltz is our biggest asset,” Leverette said.

Leverette devoted much of his speech to economic matters, including managing the Town’s resources, economic development, being mindful of the environment and consolidating services.

“We need to consolidate services in collaboration with and between all our governments, not just between town and village, but between county and state,” Leverette said. “We need to focus on true economic development, so that we identify the types of businesses we want and bring good jobs to New Paltz.”

Although he ran in the Democratic Cau- cus, Leverette is a Republican. In his speech, the current Chair of the Police Commission for the Town of New Paltz spoke in opposition to government that is radically steeped in partisan politics.

Former New Paltz Central School District Board Memeber Dan Torres, a 2009 graduate of New Paltz High School, won one of the two Democratic nominations for Town Board with

201 votes — the most of any canidate. As he approached the stage before his speech he called himself a “proud Democrat.” However, in his speech, Torres, like Leverette, rejected the influence of “party bosses” and encouraged community engagement whenever possible. “Often the people with the best ideas are not our elected officials,” Torres said.

Torres spoke about sustainability and it’s importance to New Paltz. “I want to help continue our town’s role as a model for sustainability,” Torres said. “Initiating the process of cleaning the Walkill [River] is a proactive move that will benefit generations down the road.”

Current Councilman on the New Paltz Board Jeff Logan also won Democratic nomination for Town Board with 161 votes.

Logan emphasized his role in the community, not just as a member of the Board, but also as a nurse, coach and business owner.

“[I] practice small ‘d’ democracy,” Logan said. “I govern the welfare of all, for the whole community.”

Finances were prominent in his speech, accentuating the importance of good budgeting practices.

“We all need to watch the bottom line, which is the dollar,” Logan said.

At the caucus, Ray Lunati and Amy Cohen both ran but did not gain enough votes to secure one of the two positions for the Democratic nomination for the Town Board. Lunati won 72 votes and Cohen 58. In their speeches, both spoke of their involvement in and service to the New Paltz community.

Current Highway Superintendent Chris Marx won the nomination over challenger Steve Takacs.

In his speech, Takacs spoke of his knowledge of work zone safety, asphalt paving, legal liability, bicycle and pedestrian roads all gained from experience attending numerous panels, dis- cussions and workshops.

Marx, who was elected Town of New Paltz Highway Superintendent two years ago, spoke of his “practical knowledge” of budgeting, pur- chasing and contract negotiations from his expe- rience as a business owner.

Jonathan Katz won the nomination for Town Judge. He ran unopposed.