MASSENA — Two new faces will be joining the Massena Town Council following their Tuesday wins.
Republicans Susan Bellor and Robert Elsner defeated Democrats Melanie Cunningham, who was seeking reelection, and Loren Fountaine, who was making his first run for a seat on the board. Two seats were up this year, one belonging to Mrs. Cunningham and a second belonging to Councilman Thomas C. Miller, who did not seek another term.
Mrs. Bellor, the former chair of the Massena Memorial Hospital Board of Managers, and Mr. Elsner, retired diagnostic/cardiac imaging director at Massena Memorial Hospital, were at Morley’s American Grill in Massena on Tuesday night, watching the results come in. In the end, Mrs. Bellor had 1,332 votes, Mr. Elsner had 1,073 votes, Mrs. Cunningham had 908 votes and Mr. Fountaine had 889 votes.
“I was very, very excited,” Mrs. Bellor said.
She said that her campaigning had an influence on how residents voted at the polls.
“Definitely. It’s amazing the people I met all over Massena,” she said.
She said she was often stopped to have conversations with voters, who relayed their likes and dislikes.
“I think they felt good having that conversation. People like to be treated with civility,” she said.
In many cases, they were already familiar with her. She serves in the St. Lawrence County Chapter, New York State Women, Inc. and Rotary International District 7040. She has also served several years on various local Massena boards including the museum, library, hospital, country club and Sacred Heart Parish Council.”
“They know my background,” Mrs. Bellor said.
In the end, she said there was support from both the Democratic and Republican side.
As a board member, she said she’s interested in making the town’s future brighter.
“If there are any grants, I want to get involved in that. I’ve done grant writing and grant review,” Mrs. Bellor said.
She also wants to paint Massena in a positive light.
“I like Massena to look positive on the map. I’ve been all over the county and people say, ‘What’s going on in Massena,’” she said.
She ran to “make a positive difference for Massena,” and that’s what she plans to do.
“My mother said you can’t whine, you have to speak up,” she said.
Mrs. Bellor said many people she spoke with told her it was time for some changes.
“They said it was time for some different opinions, some diversity,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to a positive relationship. I want to work with the people.”
Mr. Elsner, a retired U.S. Air Force veteran, had campaigned on a motto of “Transparency, Truth and Trust.” He retired from Massena Memorial Hospital after working 19 years at the facility.
“I am not a career politician. I offer up no political agenda or biases. Such debates are better left to the state and national stages. Political bias, or favoritism, has no role in bringing prosperity to this community. We must all work together to succeed and political ideologies create barriers where none should exist,” he said prior to Tuesday’s election.