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Challengers hit the trail

Bethlehem United candidates holding public meetings to kick off campaigns

Bethlehem United coalition candidates Fred DiMaggio-R, Linda Jasinski-C, and Dan Cunningham-I, hold a meeting for the public to ask questions on Thursday, Sept. 19 at Selkirk Firehouse No. 2 in Glenmont. The event was hosted by Albany County Legislator Rich Mendick.

Bethlehem United coalition candidates Fred DiMaggio-R, Linda Jasinski-C, and Dan Cunningham-I, hold a meeting for the public to ask questions on Thursday, Sept. 19 at Selkirk Firehouse No. 2 in Glenmont. The event was hosted by Albany County Legislator Rich Mendick. Photo by Marcy Velte.

— Councilwoman Joann Dawson is a resident of Glenmont.

Cunningham said his efforts are focused on maintaining the services that make up the character of the town, while keeping taxes at a livable level for residents.

“If my taxes go up 15 percent last year, that means my kids are going without something,” Cunningham said. “And ultimately if they keep going in this direction, my kids won’t be living here.”

About 40 people attended the meeting. Questions ranged from how the candidates would promote economic development in the town, to preserving open space for agriculture, to open-door policies for constituents.

“We need to work with developers and let them know this isn’t a hostile environment for business,” DiMaggio said.

Cunningham said Bethlehem should be going after “low-hanging fruit” and promote the waterfront and rail yard instead of seeking technology tenants because of the competition involved.

“We have assets here we should be focused on developing,” he said.

One woman asked how the public could work to get rid of the town’s Comprehensive Plan, arguing it does very little for parts of the town other than Delmar and is not working to stop overdevelopment.

Jasinski, who was an advisory member on two Comprehensive Plan committees, said she doesn’t think the plan needs to be thrown out, but rather tweaked to take into account the needs of all residents.

The meeting was attended by former Democratic Supervisor Jack Cunningham, who is Dan Cunningham’s brother. Also in support of the Bethlehem United group are two Bethlehem Democratic Committee members, Stephen Vazci and Leo Dorsey, from the town’s 28th district. Both spoke at the meeting, and were critical of other parties for not working harder to get out the vote and obtain absentee ballots in the recent Primary Election.

“I’m probably going to make some enemies here tonight, but I don’t care,” said Dorsey. “The Republican, Independence and Conservative parties failed in the primary because they didn’t get off their lazy butts. I’m a Democrat and I got 145 absentee ballots for these candidates.”

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