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ROTTERDAM: Four vie for board seats

Four Rotterdam residents are vying for two open seats on Rotterdam's Town Board.

Both seats were vacated by Democrats. Diane Marco is retiring and Robert Godlewski is running for a seat on the Schenectady County Legislature.

Democrats Richard Leet and John Silva are running against Republican Michael Della Villa and Republican-endorsed John Denny.

Leet, 50, moved to Rotterdam in 1981, and is currently the manager of CVS Pharmacy. Leet is also active in St. Gabriel's Church, serving on the parish council and as chairman of the pastoral planning committee, which is in charge of setting goals for the future of the parish. He also is a religious education teacher.

I have been involved in nonprofits; that is my background, Leet said. "I was asked to run, which is foreign to me, but there are many issues in the town. I feel like our quality of life is suffering. We need to decide what our goal is for the town, and we should do that by bringing the community together."

Silva is the CEO of Hometown Health Centers, which specializes in providing primary health care to low-income and uninsured patients. He moved to Rotterdam eight years ago from Boston, where he served as a town selectman. Silva said he is not used to party politics and feels it is a detriment to local governments.

"We need to stop placing blame for our problems and work together to solve them," he said. "This is about vision and collaboration, about listening first and acting second and having the ability to say you are wrong and try it another way."

Della Villa, a Schalmont graduate, currently serves as president of the Schalmont Board of Education. He feels the town needs to concentrate on smart economic growth and bettering the future for Rotterdam's children.

"We have a lot of work to do, and sometimes it seems like we are pushing a large load up Mount Everest," he said. "We need a sound economic development plan and smart growth with a focus on our children and community support."

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