Momentum is building for Jim Grady in his attempt to become the next Bethlehem supervisor.
The already-declared Independence Party candidate has now received the endorsement of the Bethlehem Republican Committee. The endorsement means Grady's name will appear on two lines this fall as he tries to unseat interim Supervisor Jack Cunningham, a Democrat, who took over following Theresa Egan's resignation in April.
They contacted me and asked me if I was interested, said Grady, who interviewed in front of the committee last week.
Grady, who considers himself a fiscal conservative, said he would not run on a line that is not consistent with his own philosophy.
"Taxes are the biggest problem facing the town," said Grady, who is punctuating his campaign by attempting to donate 25,000 trees to residents this year.
"I started planting trees in 1976 and it's a way to keep me connected to trees and the importance of the environment."
Grady said he has already handed out up to 4,000 trees in the past month including free Colorado blue spruce, Norway spruce, and Serbian spruce trees.
"I would like to see Bethlehem become a National Arbor Foundation Tree City USA," Grady said.
Members of the town board including Cunningham, Kyle Kotary and Sam Messina have all received trees from Grady.
"This is not political, it's a human thing," Grady said.
At $3 a tree, Grady will be spending about $75,000 this year handing out trees before he begins spending money on his candidacy.
"This whole election is about how the town manages its finances," said Grady, who is a self-employed investor. "We need to use our resources more intelligently because this is a big business we are running here."
Cunningham said he is ready to face Grady's challenge for the supervisor's seat.
"I always think it is good when people in the community come forward to run," said Cunningham, referring to Grady's first attempt at running for public office.
Pledging to continue the many projects under way in the town, including Vista Technology Park, the Route 9W corridor development and Delaware Avenue revitalization, Cunningham said," We need to balance our town tax base."
The Town Republican committee also endorsed Melody Burns and Art Scheuermann for seats on the town board; Kathy Newkirk for town clerk; Nancy Mendick for receiver of taxes; Greg Sagendorph for superintendent of highways; Patrick Greene for Albany County legislator in the 33rd District; Jared King for 34th District legislator; Mitch Goldstein in the 35th District; and Richard Mendick in the 36th District.""