Among the Election inspectors signing in voters at the polls in Lake George Town Hall Nov. 8 were (left to right) Joan West, Pat Sennett and Pat Synnott.
The upstart grassroots Lake George Citizens Group earned a spot in local political history Nov. 8 as their slate of candidates bucked the Republican party and captured all three open positions in town government.
Local surveyor and engineer Dennis Dickinson defeated Lake George Town Supervisor Frank McCoy by a vote of 606 to 477.
Capturing seats on the town council were retired electrician Dan Hurley and former Village Trustee Marisa Muratori — also running with Citizen’s Group’s ardent support. They defeated established, popular Republican Town Board members Caryl Clark and Scott Wood. Dan Hurley received 583 votes and Muratori garnered 568, compared to Wood’s 468 and Clark’s 465, followed by Democrat Janie Green with 88 votes.
Surrounded by Citizen Group members celebrating the victories Tuesday night at East Cove Restaurant, Dickinson said he was pleased with the margin of his win.
“It wasn’t a matter of particular issues, it was just that local residents wanted a change,” he said. “We went out door-to-door to about 1,000 homes, and we heard that people just wanted to see different people in office.”
Referring to the issues of financial accountability and government transparency championed by the Citizen’s group, Dickinson said that citizens had been dissatisfied with past practices and wanted progress.
“Frank McCoy gave us a pretty big start moving forward on these issues, but now we have other things to work on,” he said. “And Caryl and Scott were real strong candidates, but the voters wanted some fresh ideas and move in a different direction.”
Citizens Group co-founder Joanne Gavin said their candidates were successful because they had innovative ideas as well as listening to the local citizens’ views on future directions for the town.
“The vision our candidates have, their goals for the future — based on what they heard from the community — were a very important factor in the election’s outcome,” she said.
Muratori, who has worked to develop local sustainable economic vitality as well as pursuing environmental objectives, said the Lake Citizens Group put forth a concerted effort to achieve progressive goals as well as place their candidates in office.
“it was a tremendous effort by a large number of people working all season long,” she said. “Now, I want to see stabilization in taxes, improved health of the the lake, and to see the economy grow in a way that reflects the true identity of Lake George.”
McCoy said he was disappointed with the results, but wished the opposing candidates well.
“Regardless of how many good things our administration accomplished, the voters just wanted a change,” he said, noting his board’s drafting of the Exit 21 Corridor development plan, the ban on phosphorus in the lake’s watershed, the introduction of stricter financial controls, and tightened oversight of development near waterways.
“We were really a very progressive board — the town is a lot better off than it was two years ago,” he added, noting that taxes were reduced two years in a row, and town government has more transparency as well as a new payroll system. “But the Citizens Group had a lot of money and a lot of people behind them — and the voters were ready for a change.”