THURMAN - As of this week, there are now two candidates who will be listed on the ballot in the November general election for Thurman supervisor.
Long-time town assessor Thomas "Tuck" Birdsall, 63, filed paperwork Sept. 20 with the county board of elections to be the Republican candidate for the post.
Birdsall's action follows the decision recently reached by the Thurman Republican Committee to choose him as their candidate. The committee consists of two members: Birdsall and Ed Binder.
Birdsall joins Evelyn Wood, 33, in the race for town supervisor. She decided in July to run for the post after former supervisor Red Pitkin resigned from the position. The timing of Pitkin's resignation blocked a Republican primary race, so Wood - an enrolled Republican - launched her campaign as an independent candidate, while Birdsall waited until after the election to run, by declaring his committee's chosen candidate for the ballot - himself. He said Monday he confirmed his intentions in August after several people urged him to run.
Birdsall has served for 10 years as the chairman of the Thurman Board of Assessors.
His past public offices include serving on the local Board of Assessment Review, and 16 years as a local assessor.
As a candidate for town supervisor in the past, he's stated his qualifications as extensive knowledge of the town and its attributes based on living here for most all of his life, plus knowledge of assessment methodology and taxes.
He has run a successful business based in Thurman for 41 years, which has given him skills in financial management and working well with others, he said.
Leading issues for Birdsall include keeping taxes low, preparing realistic budgets, ramping up long-term planning for the town's future, and controlling spending at the county level.
He said his initial objectives, if elected, would be assuring that Thurman is on strong financial footing, and working to restore the dignity of town government, which has suffered in the last several years due to incidents involving various public officials and a variety of squabbles between politicians, citizens and officials serving on two agencies in town.
"We've been getting a lot of bad publicity that we don't deserve," he said.
Birdsall added he was aware by running for office he might be exposing himself to the negativity that has recently dragged down other public servants.
"I may be putting my neck on the chopping block," he said. "But I want to look forward, not back."
Another objective, longer term, will be seeking to establish more public access to the Hudson River for boating and other recreational purposes, he said.
"The town has 12 miles of Hudson River shoreline, but almost no public access," he said. "And the small canoe launch site we do have near the Thurman bridge is often mobbed."