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Clifton Park - Mediator to run against Barrett

On the top of the local Democrats' ticket is Art VanderVoort, a state-certified mediator who promises to bring reasonable leadership at a critical time in Clifton Park's development.

VanderVoort, 55, is challenging incumbent Republican Phil Barrett for Clifton Park town supervisor this November.

VanderVoort has been the owner and president of Avant Garde Mediation since 1996. He has also worked as a control operator for Momentum Performance Materials, formerly the General Electric plant in Waterford, since 1985.

He said the town needs to put residents before special interests.

The No. 1 issue that we have to deal with in Clifton Park is the overcrowding. The developers are coming in and going into open space. They're not environmentally sound, he said. "I'm not saying not grow; what I'm saying is grow smart. Think about what you're doing and don't just do anything a developer wants."

VanderVoort grew up in Speigletown and went to Lansingburgh High School. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in business management and economics from Empire State College before serving in the Army from 1972 to 1974. He served during the Vietnam War but was never deployed.

"I have the concern of the entire residency at heart. I'm concerned for everyone, not just the special interests," VanderVoort said. "It's been my experience that my opponent and his people are only looking at special interest groups and not what's best for the entire town."

He said that his professional experience helps him work with groups who come to a discussion thinking they have little in common.

"People come in, and they think they can't get together," he said. "If you ask them their needs and what they really want and the other parties are listening, they'll say that's not all that unreasonable."

VanderVoort said that if elected, he would change the structure of town board meetings to allow more open discussion and dialogue.

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