After nearly half an hour following the close of the polls on Tuesday, May 5, the Village of New Paltz had gained its 23rd mayor: Tim Rogers, who won the race with 41 percent of the vote.
In unofficial results released Tuesday night, village residents voted Rogers in with 353 votes, surpassing totals for incumbent Jason West at 204 votes, village trustee Sally Rhoads at 177 votes and candidate Amy Cohen at 137. The four candidates had been campaigning since their spots on the ballot were finalized in March.
“Our community is lucky to have many civic activists and community organizers,” Rogers said. “I ran for mayor because I support our tradition of being an activist community, but felt there was room for improvement regarding management within our local government. We each offered different skillsets [but] I’m sure the four of us will continue to contribute in our own ways.”
Town Councilman Dan Torres cited Roger’s personal take on campaigning as an aspect that brought his success on election day. Reaching out to the community made residents familiar with Rogers as a person and as a candidate, Torres said.
“He went out to meet the community by going door to door, showed his care about common concerns, and grew up in our community,” Torres said. “All of those factors are very important and it showed in the polls. 41 percent of the vote is very impressive, especially against the incumbent and a village trustee.”
Following the announcement of the election results, many residents took to the New Paltz Facebook page to voice concerns about voter turnout, where some claimed that the ballots cast were very few in proportion to the number of people registered in the town. Roughly 870 voters came out for the election.
Though the amount of registered voters looms over the thousands, Torres said these numbers are inflated due to the many registered college students who have since graduated or moved but still remain enrolled in the village’s system.
One college student who voted in the mayoral election was second-year marketing major Tina Lloyd, who registered to vote in New Paltz last year for the state senate election.
Lloyd said she decided to vote in this election because she likes to feel involved within the community that she lives in, which she says has become her home.
“It’s so important for students to vote because we all contribute to this community,” Lloyd said. “Between our business we bring, to our heavy presence throughout town and campus, students are pretty essential to New Paltz. I voted based on who cares the most about temporary residents, who are students, and permanent residents and how we can all keep New Paltz awesome. This is my home and I love it too.”
Looking ahead on his mayoral term, which begins June 1, Rogers said he aims to keep a clear focus throughout his decision making role and approach any potential conflict with efficiency in mind.
“It is important for our community to regularly step back and remind ourselves of our shared beliefs,” Rogers said. “I am someone who can follow through on a task to ensure we maintain momentum, stay headed in the right direction and not get mired in conflict by style or opinion differences.”