POTSDAM — Three candidates are vying for two Town Board seats Tuesday, with one of them seeking reelection.
Democrats Toni A. Kennedy and Marty Miller are running against Republican Larry J. Colbert, with Mrs. Kennedy seeing reelection on what she said were the issues she started running on last year, when she was elected to fill an unexpired term.
The two candidates chosen in Tuesday’s election will be filling four-year terms, concluding what has been, for the last year, an all-woman, all-Democrat Town Board, since town councilwoman Rose Marie Rivezzi will not be seeking reelection.
Mrs. Kennedy said the issues she would like to see the town continue to focus on and begin to address include the climate crisis, recreation and infrastructure.
Mr. Colbert said if he were elected, he wants to work on reducing taxes, promoting economic growth and finding ways to get funding to repair the town roads.
Multiple messages left for Mr. Miller at a number provided by the St. Lawrence County Board of Elections to discuss his campaign and what issues he was running on were not returned.
“I’m very passionate about the climate crisis and diminishing the effects of it and I feel like everything starts locally,” Mrs. Kennedy said. “I wanted to bring more recreational opportunities to Potsdam because I feel like we should be giving people of all ages opportunities to be involved and give everybody a sense of community.”
As a nurse, she said she has “dedicated my life and my profession to caring for people and that is one of the reasons I ran for office, because I truly care about the people in my community.”
If reelected, she said she would like to start focusing on infrastructure, specifically revisiting the interstate 98 Canton-Potsdam bypass which board members voiced their lack of interest in last December.
“I think even just a bypass around Canton and Potsdam would be beneficial to this area and when we have 1,000 large trucks a week going through the village of Potsdam, it is actually worse for our carbon footprint,” she said. “So if we had that bypass going around, we would avoid those extra emissions and we would avoid the damage and money in costs to repair the roads.”
Mr. Colbert said he has spent nearly a lifetime serving the public and when he saw taxes increasing each year, it was the first sign that he wanted to run for office.
“They weren’t staying level. I think we should try to live within our means. A lot of people have other struggles, trying to pay taxes, trying to keep their property and trying to put bread on the table,” he said. “I would like the voters to know that I’m honest and I want to do what’s right for the people. I want to see this place continue to grow and to be a place where our children can grow up and stay here.”
He said if he could help stimulate the town economy, that would help alleviate the problem. He pointed to LC Drives, the business that is looking to build a 120,000-square-foot factory at 6968 Route 56, potentially leading to 200 new jobs, and said the town needs to make sure more land is available and affordable to entice companies to come in.
“That’s wonderful and that is money that is coming back in and that’s going to create more jobs and more jobs create more taxable income,” he said. “Also we need to help figure out ways to fix up the roads in the town. There was a lot of damage this past winter with the freeze and thaw, and because of the price of sealing oil, they don’t seal anymore and water gets in, freezes and tears it up and that happened all over the township.”
THE KENNEDY FILE:
nName: Toni Ann Kennedy
nAddress: Town resident
nOccupation: Registered nurse
nFamily: Husband Josh, stepdaughter Shayne, daughter Peyton son Liam
nEducation: LPN at SUNY Canton, RN at Excelsior College
nCivic work: Elected to Potsdam Town Board in 2018; served on Climate Smart Communities Task Force, served on Resiliency subcommittee, chair of Community Development subcommittee, Climate Smart Communities Coordinator (liaison between town and state), served on Recreation committee, Sunrise Movement hub coordinator, member of Wolfpack, Secretary of Potsdam Central School PTSA, advocacy chair for Leatherstocking Region of PTA
THE COLBERT FILE:
nName: Larry J. Colbert
nAddress: Town of Potsdam
nOccupation: Electrician, Industrial and residential
nFamily: Five grown children, 16 grandchildren, four great-grandchildren
nEducation: Graduated from NNCS with math and science majores, graduated from Canton Tech with associate degree in electrical tech, Four-year apprenticeship at Alcoa.
nCivic work, elected offices: Worked with the Boy Scouts of America for over 50 years, Norwood volunteer fireman for over 25 years, member of Norwood Kiwanis club for over 20 years and served as president twice, served on the town of Potsdam planning board and later was elected to the Potsdam town council from 1992 to 1995, substitute teach occasionally at PCS and NNCS schools, also active in his church.