Republican endorsed candidates for the Town of Bethlehem’s November election have banded together under the multi-party coalition “Bethlehem United.” Candidates include Fred Di Maggio for Supervisor, Linda Jasinski and Dan Cunningham for town board, Terry Ritz for superintendent of highways, Melanie Calzone for town clerk and Dale Desnoyers for town justice.
Photo by Marcy Velte.
continued Cunningham, who is the brother of former supervisor Jack Cunningham, said he was running not because he ever planned to be a politician, but because he isn’t afraid to voice his opinion when he feels differently on an issue. He was involved in the “Keep the Vote Bethlehem” campaign against the highway referendum and also said he wants to see more oversight of the town’s Industrial Development Agency in ways that would help broaden the tax base.
“This coalition is really just six people who looked at each other and said, ‘we can do better,’” Cunningham said.
Other endorsements include Terry Ritz (a member of the Independence Party) for superintendent of highways, and Republicans Melanie Calzone for town clerk and Dale Desnoyers for town justice.
While members of the slate played up the multi-party approach, Kuhn described it as disingenuous.
“When Fred became chairman last year, he said it was a major mistake by the party to cross endorse Kyle Kotary for supervisor,” said Kuhn. “Now he has chose to endorse six candidates, only half of which are Republicans. I think the voters in Bethlehem sort of rightfully expect their political leaders to have a set of values that won’t be abandoned at the drop of a hat, and to not take part in backroom deals, which I think this is.”
Some members of the Republican Committee are also not happy with the selections.
Republican Committee member Jared King said he plans to primary Di Maggio on the Republican line for the position of supervisor.
“The coalition is not committed to the goals of the Republican Party. I think Fred very rarely means what he says and this is a wonderful example,” said King, citing Di Maggio’s previous statements that his main goal as a party leader is to get Republicans elected to office.
King, who made an unsuccessful bid for the County Legislature in 2007, said his goals as supervisor would be to reduce taxes by at least 5 percent with no reduction to services. He believes taxes could be reduced an additional 20 percent with a few minor reductions.
“Win or lose, I believe my running will improve the quality of the campaign’s debate,” he said.
Di Maggio said the candidates are waiting on endorsements on the Independence and Conservative lines. Candidates can begin walking petitions this week.