Westport candidates for political office include, from left, Daniel McCormick (town council), William LaHendro (town justice), Michael “Ike” Tyler (town council), Bruce Ware (supervisor), Daniel Connell (supervisor) and Nancy Page (town council).
Five candidates went head to head at the Meet the Candidates night at the Westport Town Hall on Thursday, Oct. 13 in a forum presented by the League of Woman Voters of Plattsburgh.
The three candidates running for Town Council: Dan McCormick, Michael Tyler, and Nancy Page.
McCormick is running under the Fair Deal ballot, Tyler is running under the Republican and People’s Party ballots, and Page running under the Common Sense ballot.
Running for the town supervisor position, Daniel Connell is running for re-election under the Democratic and Square Deal ballots against Councilman Bruce Ware, who is running on the Future Common Sense ballot.
Attending residents and voters were able to anonymously submit questions to perspective candidates with the use of flash cards.
Audience members asked the candidates questions about supporting local business, potential business growth, how the candidates felt about the statewide 2 percent tax cap, the candidates’ stance on extending the town’s sewer line, party choice, and what the candidates thought were the best and worst parts of the Westport population.
Town council candidates were asked what they would do to bring business into the town of Westport. Page, as councilwoman, said she would like to look at bringing Westport businesses up to date with new marketing.
“I think our focus should be on small business growth and Internet marketing to bring more young people into the area,” Page said.
Tyler said he would encourage already established businesses to spur economic growth.
“We must do our best to support the business we have already, by doing that they can be the best advocacy to bring people into this town,” Tyler said.
Residents also wanted to know what the candidates thought about improving town structures such as the town hall, firehouse and the possibility of a new town shed that would not overload the town budget. Page and McCormick said the plans should wait until after the election to be put in place.
“Plans and ideas have been explored for 10 years,” McCormick said. “The plans that have been put before the residents were not affordable. What we need to do is look for the most economical and pragmatical plans to improve this towns building projects.”
While Tyler said the board should not wait until after election but act now to avoid fines in the future from zoning violations.
All candidates said importance of businesses in the area were crucial to building a stronger community. Connell said if re-elected as town supervisor, he would focus on strengthening the towns core to support growth.
“The town can’t bring people into the community but can create an atmosphere to bring them in,” Connell said. “Our real job in supporting tourism in our community is to create an infrastructure to prepare the community. We are currently looking at a grant with crafts and would like to see this place just like another Woodstock.”
Ware said if elected as town supervisor he would use his experience as a real estate agent to help “sell” the town.
“The most important thing we can do for this town is support the businesses,” Ware said. “If we don’t support them with our money, they will fail. We cannot bring in new business if our current businesses fail.”
Candidates running unopposed this election are Town Justice William LaHendro and Town Clerk Sheila Borden.
The election will take place on Nov. 8 at the Westport Community Center, 22 Champlain Ave.