Press-Republican

October 10, 2013

Candidates share views, ideas at forum

By AMY HEGGEN
Press-Republican

---- — PLATTSBURGH — All three Plattsburgh mayoral candidates agree that regional partnership is important for the area. 

The meet-and-greet-style “Meet the Candidates” forum, hosted Tuesday evening by the Champlain Valley Business and Professional Women’s Club, introduced candidates running for offices in Clinton County and the City of Plattsburgh.

MASTER PLAN

“It’s about creating a region. The success of the town (of Plattsburgh) is as important as the success as the city,” said Democratic mayoral candidate Mark Tiffer, who now serves as a city councilor from Ward 2.

He said he has a background of giving back to the community and creating tangible changes. 

“I want to give voices to people who don’t have representation,” he said. 

Tiffer said that when he was running for City Council, some thought he wasn’t prepared for the position.

“People said I was too young, too inexperienced, but I overcame that,” he said. 

He hopes to revitalize Plattsburgh and attract businesses and young professionals.

“We do have jobs; we don’t have careers,” he said. 

Among his goals is the creation of a master plan for Plattsburgh.

“If you don’t have a vision, you’re stagnant,” he said. “We need direction.”

‘GREAT OPPORTUNITY’

Chris Rosenquest, who’s running an independent campaign for mayor, also wants to focus on creating opportunities in the city. 

“We still have kids moving away from Plattsburgh to find jobs,” he said. 

The small-business owner, who lived in Plattsburgh for 31 years before moving away for work and then returning, wants to create jobs so young people can return to the area.

“We have a great opportunity here in Plattsburgh,” he said. “The opportunity is to grow and develop.”

Rosenquest noted the city’s very large freshwater beach, the airport and train station, among other amenities, that he hopes to highlight to generate more tourism revenue should he win the mayor’s seat.

He would like to see more food and wine festivals in the city, he said, noting that Burlington brings a great deal of revenue in through those kinds of events.

‘POLITICAL MIDDLE’

The Republican and Independence Party candidate James Calnon, a Ward 4 councilor, said his focus is to attract businesses to Plattsburgh.

“We need to look at both jobs and employees as baby steps,” he said.

Calnon said he serves from the political middle.

“The first job of our government is to provide essential services at an affordable price,” he said. “Job 2 is to invest it wisely as we move out of this awful recession.”

COUNTY CANDIDATES

County Legislature and county treasurer hopefuls introduced themselves to the crowd that filled American Legion Post 20 in Plattsburgh.

Providing a brief synopsis of their views, with some also answering questions, were legislature candidates Jonathan Beach, Gerard Renadette, Colin Read, Patty Waldron, John Bernardi, Mark Dame, Robert Dolan and Robert Hall. Rick Perry was represented through a statement read by his daughter, Aimee Arts.

Waldron and Bernardi also brought up the importance of regional partnerships.

“Without healthy towns, we cannot have a healthy county,” Waldron said. “I’m going to be representing a really rural area, but it’s home.”

Bernardi said it’s important for this rural area to looks at issues from a regional perspective.

Treasurer candidates Kimberly Davis and Susan Polhemus talked about their experience with financial matters.

CITY CANDIDATES

Candidates for Plattsburgh City Common Council were invited to the event, as well. Those who attended were introduced but did not address the crowd: Maureen Carlo, William Ferris, Dale Dowdle, Peter Ensel, Paul O’Connell, Rebecca Kasper, Bruce Lawson, Justin Meyer, Josh Kretser, Rachelle Armstrong and Chris Jackson.

Plattsburgh Town Council candidates Tom Metz and Bill Brudvig showed up, as well, as did congressional candidate Elise Stefanik, who plans to oppose Rep. Bill Owens in 2014.