Press-Republican

March 8, 2014

Three seek Port Henry trustee seats

By LOHR McKINSTRY
Press-Republican

---- — PORT HENRY — Three candidates going after two open seats on the Port Henry Village Board all have strong ideas on how the village should grow.

Two trustee positions are up for two-year terms, and incumbent Ruth McDonough is running for re-election, with challenges from former Village Trustee Thomas McDonald and newcomer Sandra Lovell.

The top two vote-getters will win the seats.

One trustee post has been vacant since Jack Sheldon resigned late last year. The Village Board declined to appoint anyone to the office, instead opting to wait for the next election.

Village candidates run as independents, making up their own party names.

The election is Tuesday, March 18, with polls open from noon to 9 p.m. at the Port Henry firehouse on Church Street.

The Press-Republican asked candidates what direction they’d like to see the village take. 

Here are their answers:

SANDRA LOVELL

Lovell said some residents don’t feel like their voices are heard by local government, and she wants to change that.

“Everyone’s voice needs to be heard. One thing I think the village can accomplish is making people feel like they’re a real part of Port Henry. I will listen and see how we can make everyone a part of the village and get their help with it.”

She said village assessments, which are done by the Moriah Board of Assessors, don’t seem to reflect local real-estate values very well, with similar homes often assessed at different levels.

“I want something done about the assessing. How can a village prosper if the minute somebody comes in and starts upgrading, the assessors come in and up the assessment? That, to me, is absolutely wrong.”

The State Office of Real Property Services needs to get more involved, she said.

“What I think they (the Village Board) should do is go to Albany and say, ‘We need your help.’ The state office isn’t doing a good job of overseeing.”

She said that as a newcomer to the board she’d serve without any preconceptions.

“I will sit and listen. I’m not going to go barreling in with a particular idea.”

RUTH McDONOUGH

McDonough said she always tries to do what’s in the best interest of the community.

“There are positive things going on. It’s small steps. That’s all you can hope for.”

She said a dentist is likely moving into the Cooke Building, and other businesses are looking at the village downtown.

“That’s exciting. Isn’t that wonderful?”

She said she believes in open government and always encourages people to attend Village Board meetings.

“We encourage people to come. I’m also encouraging people to get out and vote. Vote your opinion.”

THOMAS McDONALD

“I’m semi-retired now. I want to do more community service. I did 13 years originally in village government.”

He said Port Henry’s downtown needs revitalization, and he would work toward that.

“I’d like to see more businesses in the village. I’d like to see ice fishing coming back. You used to see ice shanties up and down the lake. Now there are only a few.”

McDonald said he’s not in favor of dissolving the village.

“I’m for keeping the village as such. I think the village runs pretty well.”

Email Lohr McKinstry:lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com

MEET THE CANDIDATES

SANDRA LOVELL

Party: Citizens Party.

Age: 87.

Education: University of Texas.

Occupation: Retired opera singer; editor-publisher of Port Henry Fact Finder newsletter.

Civic organizations: pH7 community group.

Family: Four grown children: Tom, Amanda, Chris and Patty.

RUTH McDONOUGH

Party: Citizens Party.

Age: 82.

Education: Port Henry High School graduate.

Occupation: Retired Essex County personnel officer.

Government experience: County government service for 36 years; and village mayor, 2003 to 2007.

Civic organizations: Moriah Town Historical Society, Retired Senior Volunteer Program.

Family: Two grown children: Deborah and John.

THOMAS McDONALD

Party: Taxpayers Party.

Age: 77.

Education: Port Henry High School; Cortland State College.

Occupation: Semi-retired; construction inspector.

Previous government experience: Former trustee, Port Henry Village Board, 13 years; former Moriah town assessor.

Civic organizations: Port Henry Fire Department, Mineville Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Military service: U.S. Army, two years.

Family: Wife, Carol; five children: Karen, Holly, Charles, Mark, Thomas Jr.