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Candidates meet voters in Waddington

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WADDINGTON - Candidates made a last-ditch effort to drum up support, field questions, and discuss their platforms at a last-minute meet the candidates night Wednesday.

Even though it was short notice, over 30 residents attended the meet-and-greet – more so than attended in past years, Democratic Chairman Roger Sharlow said.

Mr. Sharlow said the turnout was due in large part to his and Republican Chairman Russell B. Strait’s decision to hold a joint event.

“This is rare,” Mr. Sharlow said. “When Russ approached me about it, I thought it was a great idea.”

Instead of speeches and debates, candidates went from table to table to discuss voters’ concerns. The informal gathering was designed to make the public more comfortable about approaching candidates, Mr. Sharlow said.

“This is a great opportunity for people to talk directly with candidates about their concerns,” he said.

Sandy R. Wright who holds both the Republican and Democratic nominations in the race for town supervisor said she was feeling positive about the responses she has received from voters on Wednesday.

If elected, Mrs. Wright said her main priority will be to beef up tourism and revitalize Main Street. She said tourism is vital when it comes to reducing the tax levy.

But Mrs. Wright has said she is against any big changes to economic development. She said she wants to preserve Waddington’s “quaint” atmosphere.

Mrs. Wright’s opponent, incumbent Mark Scott, said relying on new homes is not enough to maintain the tax levy which has been stable for the last four years.

“The biggest issue facing Waddington is property taxes,” Mr. Scott said. “People appreciate that we have been able to keep the levy stable in an era when prices continue to rise. But in order to keep that going, we’re going to need to discuss economic development.”

He is running as an Independent in November.

Patty VanPatten, one of three candidates running for town council, said her main goal is to build a trail system from Coles Creek State Park to the community. She said the trail, which has been stalled for several years, will bring influx tourism to the town.

“It can be used for a variety of things: biking, hiking, snowshoeing,” Mrs. VanPatten said. “It would be a great way to highlight our river.”

Mrs. VanPatten’s opponent, incumbent Shirley Robinson, said her top priority is to work as a local government task force member.

“We’re working really closely at the contract to determine what we can and can’t ask for,” Mrs. Robinson said. “I am interested in seeing it through.”

Third town council candidate, Shaun Prentice, was not available for comment.

Voters will have a chance to cast their ballots on Nov. 5 at the Municipal Building, 48 Maple St.

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