Local Elections Put Redistricting, Demographics in Focus

However, Shwartz said that the Congressional race has not been very well-publicized.

“There just hasn’t been any of the intensity that there was two years ago in the Congres-sional race,” Shwartz said. “So I think people are more indifferent to it and unaware of it. It’s only been in the last few weeks that it’s even begun to trickle.”

Kunkel said that the 2012 local election is important because of the Republican Party’s concern about mandate release.

“The state has mandates and they put a tax cap on at two percent and we can’t raise the taxes or pay for services so we’re caught in the middle. What we got to do is find some way to cut the bills or cut services. I’m not in favor of cutting services, but something’s got to give,” Kunkel said.

“My whole goal is to make Madison County the best place to live, the best place to work, the best place to raise your family and work with everybody,” said Kunkel.

Two of the issues that are currently sig-nificant to the local community are hydro-fracking and educational funding. Although these issues were not on the ballot this year, the candidates’ stances on these policies are of importance.

“The biggest issue right now is the fracking issue. People want to frack but you got to make sure it’s a safe fracking issue,” Kunkel said.

“I think that Dan [Lamb] takes really the best possible approach because he’s not lis-tening to partisan views or special interest views; he’s paying attention to the science behind it … He’s very supportive of legisla-tions that would require companies to dis-close the nature of the chemicals that they’re injecting into the ground,” Oot said.

Oot said that the Congressional race would not have a large impact on the is-sue of educational funding because New York state legislators are very supportive of local education.

Kunkel took a slightly different approach.

“With the school districts, they’re a huge drain on our taxes. But the thing is, that’s the most we can possibly do for the future of our economy. You got to have good schools … so I support the schools as much as I can, but I’m sure there are some ways that they can do more without spending so much money.”

Shwartz referred to these issues as “hot button topics,” but is more focused on long-term goals.

“We’ve become very dependent on educa-tion and the medical community and I think in the long term if we’re going to have a healthy economy and a strong future and attract our young people to stay in the community we have to have a diverse economic base,” Shwartz said.

The town council is currently in the midst of creating the annual budget, which did not directly impact this year’s general election.

However, Oot said, “Decisions that you make today with regard to budget can have an impact on how people perceive a candidate next year.”

Both parties are already looking at the village elections in June and the next November election.

According to Oot, potential candidates are already considering their options for the coming year, and the conversation will increase in about two or three months.

“We are focused on next year’s election all the time. We want good people,” Kunkel said. “It’s very hard to find qualified individu-als who can take the time to be on the Board of Supervisors or to be on committees.”

Contact Julia Queller at [email protected].