There are two Colonie Town Board seats up for grabs on Election Day and four candidates vying for them. Financial disclosures filed with the New York State Board of Elections in July offer a glimpse into how the race is shaping up.
A Town Board shuffle prompted the off-year vacancies after Councilman Dan Dustin resigned to take a job in Tennessee in December and David Rowley was selected by the Town Board to fill Dustin’s spot. Deputy Town Supervisor Nancy Hernandez stepped down to take a job with the state comptroller this spring and former Planning Board member Brian Haak was chosen to fill a spot created when Councilman William Carl moved to fill Hernandez’s post. The two appointees are running to secure the remainder of the seats’ terms.
Now, two Republicans are hoping to shake up the Democratic Town Board.
Joseph Gomez is gunning for Rowley’s seat, which is an unexpired one-year term. David Green is challenging Haak for the unexpired three-year term.
So far, Green is leading the fundraising pack with over $18,000 in his war chest.
“I’m excited about it. I have a lot of support in Colonie,” said Green, a lawyer. “My support has come 95 percent from clients. I only have one family donor, which is my parents.”
Green’s records show 32 individual donations for a total of $11,270, with the largest single donation being $1,000. He gleaned $8,400 from corporate donations.
And though he’s already pulled ahead monetarily, Green said he’s not done yet.
“We just had (another) fundraiser at the Mouse Trap in Latham and had an amazing turnout. I counted about 110 people come through the doors,” said Green. “In addition to what I’ve already disclosed … I have another $5,000 or $6,000 to add to that already, so I’m doing great.”
Green said he thinks his reputation in the community as a lawyer has contributed to the outpouring of support.
“All donors that have donated are existing clients that I do a significant amount of work with and are just very proud of me. They know I can do a great job because I’m doing a great job for them,” said Green.
He said his first task should he secure a spot on the board would be to cross partisan lines.
“One of my issues is that we should not have one party line rule and the current administration is all Democrats … so I want to open up the lines of communication between the parties,” said Green.
In comparison, current board member and Green’s opposition Haak has not raised more than $1,000 to date.
An “in lieu of statement” was filed by Haak. A report doesn’t have to be filed if the candidate’s bank account does not exceed $1,000.
On Wednesday, July 25, Haak reached out to supporters on his Facebook campaign page.
“Please, friends, if I have done something to help you in the past and you believe in me and the principles I stand for … please send a donation,” wrote Haak.
Haak is the first openly gay elected official in the Town of Colonie and has been involved in government for 25 years. He touted his experience with finances, saying it would give him a “leg up” when drafting a balanced budget and maintaining the town’s fiscal stability.
Incumbent Rowley lead his opponent, Gomez, with a total of $6,215 banked. A large chunk of that— $5,615—came from individual donations. Records show that Friends of Paula Mahan, the town supervisor’s campaign, wrote a $500 check.
Gomez lags slightly behind, with an even $5,000 raised. New to politics, Gomez said his experience running his own business would be an asset to the town.
“I believe that I could contribute to the town’s ability to get businesses in the area so we could make for a better tax base for the residents of Colonie,” said Gomez.
He also said the board could use “diversity” and “a little more independent thinking.”
“I’m getting up there in age so I’d like to make sure the senior citizens in this area are well cared for,” said Gomez.
A native of Cuba, Gomez said he’s been active in the community since moving to the area in 1968 and raising his five daughters.
“I have received 41 awards for community and business related activities, which is significant,” said Gomez. “I believe I have a lot to contribute.”
Gomez said he has fundraisers planned for August.