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Clifton Park politicians push green agenda

Forget red and blue politics. This election year, it's all about green in Clifton Park.

Local Democrats held a press conference on Green Government on Monday, July 2, on the heels of the formation of an alternative energy committee by the Republican town board.

"We have already been educating ourselves and getting experts to educate us so now we're going out to educate other people and try to raise their level of awareness just like we did back in 1995 [with Friends of Open Space]," said Margaret Catellier, a Democrat running for town board. "Where have [the Republicans] been all these years? Why are they only learning this now? They didn't have the vision."

Catellier was a founding member of Friends of Open Space, and was among the first appointments to the town's Open Space Committee in 2001.

Town Supervisor Phil Barrett said he expects the appointments of the new alternative energy committee to be made within two weeks by co-chairmen Scott Hughes and Tom Paolucci, the incumbent Republican candidates for town board.

"Look at the open space plan; we've done more in that area than I dare say any community that I know of," Barrett said. "We've preserved two farms forever; we've protected another 800-plus acres."

Democrats held a local event as part of the Saturday, July 7, "Live Earth" concerts to support solutions to the climate crisis, a small gathering at Mocha Lisa's in the Clifton Park Center.

"When you talk about open space initiatives, comprehensive plans, various installations in the town, we have always been on the cutting edge of this issue," said Youssef Ballout, the vice chairman of the Democratic Committee.

"We introduce them to the town, we bring the ideas, and we put them in front of the town board. It's up to them to do or not do because yes, we are not in power; we don't have the ability to implement our ideas."

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