Calling for new voices and new choices, a dozen Milton Democrats gathered Monday, June 25, to iron out ways to get two-party representation in the traditionally Republican-run town.
In a meeting room at the Ballston Area Community Center, with the lights dimmed to ward off the heat wave, the enthusiasm built as ideas were brainstormed for everything from setting a caucus date to launching service programs for impoverished families.
"We haven't had an organized presence in Milton for a very long time," said Ed Williford, who led the meeting. "This will be our first time setting a caucus."
One candidate, Meg Stevens, has emerged as a candidate seeking the Democratic Party endorsement in her bid for town council.
With the caucus on the calendar for July 11, the group hopes to have more Democratic candidates for the open town slots, including a candidate to challenge incumbent town Supervisor Frank Thompson, two town board seats, town clerk and town highway superintendent.
Those at the meeting brought with them hefty lists of the town's registered Democrats.
"We need more of a majority, and we need to put in a lot of effort in a hurry; we want responsible candidates, but I'd like to see people running for the supervisor and other council position," said John Munter, a longtime town resident and Democratic supporter. "I've been here 69 years and told many times if I would change my party affiliation, I could be voted onto the board. All the town board members I wouldn't mind having as a next door neighbor, but I don't agree with their political decision-making."
Stevens said she has been looking hard for running mates.
"I can't even count how many calls I've made to everyone I know looking for candidates," said Stevens. "We don't have a strong history of election wins, but no one has run against the incumbents. Every time you go to the polls, there are only Republicans. Nothing changes."