Supervisor candidates meet in debate

Budget, leadership, level of partisanship recurring themes during lively evening

Candidates in the Democratic primary for Bethlehem supervisor met in debate on Thursday, Sept. 1.

Candidates in the Democratic primary for Bethlehem supervisor met in debate on Thursday, Sept. 1. Rachel Brennan

Kyle Kotary

Kotary is endorsed by the Democratic, Republican and Independence parties. He's nearing the end of his sixth year on the Town Board, and is midway through his second term having first been elected in 2005.

He owns an Albany-based communications firm, Empire Public Affairs, specializing in public relations work. Over the years, he's worked at various levels of government, often in a communications role, including as communications director in the state Senate and as a special assistant in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“I know what it's like to make a payroll, I know what it's like to manage groups small and large,” Kotary said at Thursday's debate. “We need a super who's going to set the vision, who's going to work with the board to get the majority if not the entire board to support that vision.”

Kotary lives in Delmar with his wife and has three children.

— Clarkson on Thursday said if he doesn’t win the Democratic line that would be the end of his bid for supervisor, even if he were to secure the Conservative line (which the party offered but was later invalidated on a challenge by Kotary on the procedural paperwork). He transitioned from this thought to discuss what has been the linchpin of his campaign from the start: the fact Kotary garnered endorsements from the two major parties.

He said this was his chief reason for pursuing the office.

“I think we should honor our two-party system,” Clarkson said. “If our two-party system at the local level doesn’t provide competition and choice, it really fails us.”

Kotary said he would continue his run even if he were not to hold the line of his own Democratic Party.

“I'm not running for supervisor to simply be a choice, or to support one party or another. At the local level especially, it's about people and not about politics,” he said.

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