BETHLEHEM Bethlehem’s Democratic Party is under new leadership after Councilman Jeffrey Kuhn was voted into the position of town committee chairman last week.
Former Chairman Matthew Clyne lost his position after a weighted committee vote on Monday, Oct.1. Kuhn said he decided to run because he could no longer back the current committee leader and decided before the meeting he would accept the nomination if someone put his name forward.
“Our intention was to create a blended committee leadership and move forward as one, and I think that is what happened Monday night,” said Pam Robbins, one of the people who founded the town’s Reform Democrat movement in May. She is now the Democratic Committee secretary. “There is now a mix of old and new members who just want to work hard for the town’s Democratic Party.”
Members of the Reform group felt the party needed more transparency and the group put forward 40 candidates for committee seats, winning 26 out of 62 seats in the September primary.
Robbins said Kuhn’s name was not put forth by a Reform member, but the majority of his support came from Reform Democrats.
“Jeff is a great communicator and always willing to work with everyone, so we think he’ll make a great chairman,” said Robbins.
Kuhn said he is hoping he can lead the party in a positive direction and declared any previous faction labels as obsolete.
“We’re all just Democrats now,” he said.
Clyne disagreed, and said incumbent members of the committee are disappointed in Kuhn.
“I think the party is still split in two as a result of this episode,” he said. “Unfortunately, time to talk was before this all shook out and there was no effort at communication. We’ll see where it all goes, but clearly we’re a divided party and it’s not realistic to assume we will all move forward at the same pass.”