Race for 114th Assembly seat expands, realigns
by Thom Randall
WARREN COUNTY | The race to take on the post of representing the 114th District Assembly District realigned this week as Evelyn Wood of Thurman launched her candidacy and two declared candidates — Matt Simpson of Horicon and Claudia Braymer of Glens Falls — received key endorsements. Doug Beaty of Queensbury is also running for the Assembly seat.
Wood launches third-party campaign
Wood, who served as town supervisor of Thurman between late 2010 and early 2017, announced her candidacy Jan. 22 in a meeting with supporters at Lizzie Keays Restaurant in Warrensburg. A former Republican, she registered last week as a member of the new Serve America Movement party.
Wood said she was running because politics was becoming too polarized and state legislators were not listening to or addressing citizens’ concerns.
“We need to restore common sense and solid, practical solutions to our government,” she said. “Politicians are too caught up in grandiose legislation they want to pass — The central focus of my campaign is listening to the people and getting things accomplished for them.”
She said she joined the S.A.M. party because its adherents believe in “results over rhetoric.”
Wood told her supporters that strengthening infrastructure was one of her top priorities: not only rebuilding highways and bridges, but also increasing cellular coverage, providing reliable and adequate electric service, and boosting broadband access.
“Our communities need infrastructure as a strong foundation so they can thrive,” she said, noting how as a town supervisor she oversaw the reconstruction of various bridges and many roadways in Thurman after the calamitous 2011 storms.
She also said that if elected, she would work to address environmental concerns — not only protecting land and water quality, but addressing such threats as Lyme disease — as well as combating invasive species, including insects that are now threatening the health of hemlock, ash and maple trees.
In addition, she said she would work for the state legislature to be more fiscally responsible, noting that ever more financial burdens were being shifted to counties and towns, forcing local governments to raise taxes.
“Legislators are following a historic trend of playing the shell game with finances,” she said, noting the burden of state mandates. Also, Wood said she’d advocate for the repeal or re-drafting of the new controversial Bail and Discovery Reform legislation.
Wood kicks off state campaign under SAM party line
WARRENSBURG — Former Thurman Supervisor Evelyn Wood announced on Wednesday that she will be running for a state assembly seat under the SAM party line.
“I’m going to run for the 114th District,” Wood told a group of about 25 at the Lizzie Keays Restaurant in Warrensburg. “You guys know I have been a long time Republican ... Today I went to the Board of Elections and I left the Republican Party and joined the SAM Party (Serve America Movement).”
Wood explained that the SAM party is small and growing and while she had planned to run as a Republican, when she learned about the SAM Party, she “fell in love with it. “
She shared with those attending her kick-off event that the SAM Party has an interesting outlook on what elected officials should be doing.
“They emphasize results over rhetoric,” she said. “They want to see what you are getting done as an elected official. And I feel that is something that is really missing today in our entire political process. What’s happening now is that the people are not being heard. We have this big disconnect ... and the one thing we don’t hear about anymore is the people we are supposed to be representing.”
Wood, as a third party candidate, is running for the seat being vacated by Assemblyman Dan Stec, R-Queensbury. Stec is running for state Senate.
While she understands running as a third party candidate is a tough climb, she said she’s ready to knock on doors and find out what the voters in the district want.
“I decided I could get out and make a difference,” she said. “We need to restore common sense and good solid practical solutions to our government. We need to actually help our people and I want to get back into serving the people. And that is the central focus of my campaign.”
According to Wood, some of the biggest issues facing the district are related to infrastructure, bridges, roads, high speed internet and cell service.
“Infrastructure is near and dear to my heart,” she said. “Not just roads and bridges, cell service, the electric that keeps going out, these things are the cornerstones and very foundation of our communities.”
Wood compared it to a house, “if you don’t have a good foundation, your house isn’t strong.”
“We need to go back to focusing on building strong communities so that they can thrive,” Wood said. “So many people say we should bring in jobs to the area and we need to do this, but they don’t get anything done. We’ve got to start small and start with the basics ... if we don’t start addressing those very basic things our communities can’t grow.”
Horicon Supervisor Matt Simpson and Queensbury at-Large Supervisor Doug Beaty are running on the GOP line and Glens Falls 3rd Ward Supervisor Claudia Braymer is running on the Democratic line.
Wood to hold Assembly campaign
WARRENSBURG — Former Thurman Supervisor Evelyn Wood will hold a campaign kickoff next week for her run for state Assembly in the 114th District.Wood, who is seeking the Republican nomination for the seat, will host an event Wednesday at Lizzie Keays restaurant in Warrensburg. It is scheduled to start at 5 p.m.
Wood, Horicon Supervisor Matt Simpson and Queensbury at-Large Supervisor Doug Beaty are all seeking the GOP line for the seat that is being vacated by Assemblyman Dan Stec, R-Queensbury. Stec is running for state Senate.
Glens Falls 3rd Ward Supervisor Claudia Braymer is running on the Democratic line.
Essex County Republicans were scheduled to meet about a possible endorsement in the race Thursday night, but the meeting was postponed because of weather issues.
Simpson was endorsed by the Warren County Republican Committee earlier this month.
Supervisor Evelyn Wood offers the Warren County board a choice
Bravos to Evelyn Wood, Thurman’s supervisor, for stepping forward to challenge Warrensburg Supervisor Kevin Geraghty for chairmanship of the Warren County Board of Supervisors. Geraghty had already served three one-year terms as chairman, which is usually the maximum number of terms any one supervisor serves as chairman. Geraghty, a Republican, was re-elected chairman. Since Republicans hold 14 of 20 seats on the board, Wood’s chances of unseating him were slim. But, as she said, at least the board had a choice.
Thurman supervisor criticizes tax cap
Bravos to Thurman Supervisor Evelyn Wood for a series of to-the-point questions to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget director, Robert Mujica, about the effect the 2 percent tax cap has on local communities. While a good crowd at The Queensbury Hotel was on hand to hear details of the state budget, Wood was the only person to push back on how government is conducting its business. There should have been a line of supervisors asking the same sort of questions.
EDITORIAL: Orientation for new supervisors is overdue
Get elected as a county supervisor and, like a baby condor taking that first leap off the cliff, you were supposed to somehow just know what to do.
Thurman’s supervisor, Evelyn Wood, said she was welcomed to the board by being told where to park and shown where the coffee pot was.
So, many newly elected supervisors have over the years kept quiet during their first few weeks — or even months (or even years) — on the board, watching and trying to learn how the system worked.
Some of the supervisors elected in recent years — such as Rachel Seeber and Doug Beaty, both of Queensbury — said they had been told explicitly by longtime members of the board that reticence and deference were expected of them as newcomers.
“Just sit and listen, honey” is what Seeber said she was told.
We were glad to discover that Seeber, Beaty and other supervisors relatively new to the board, such as Evelyn Wood, did not follow this poor advice.
Supervisors are elected by their townspeople to represent their communities’ interests on the county board from day one, not to sit around like potted plants while longer-serving supervisors take care of everything.
A Warren County coup?
Jan 5, 2016
Thurman Supervisor Evelyn Wood's announcement Monday that she plans to challenge Warrensburg Supervisor Kevin Geraghty for the chair of Warren County's Board of Supervisors surprised many, including me.
The chairmanship is usually worked out ahead of the annual organizational meeting, and it's typically a unanimous vote to show unity. That practice changed a bit last year, when two Queensbury at-large supervisors voted against Geraghty getting another year atop the board.
2015 was a tumultuous year for the board, with more of a split developing between a group that was not happy with the way the Siemens investigation and report was dealt with, and the perceived softballing by some members of county Administrator Paul Dusek's criticism in the report and then the decision to give him a raise.
Geraghty has clearly been trying to mend some fences, with 2016 committee chairmanships being extended to some who have challenged the status quo.
Wood is beginning her fifth full year on the board. A registered Republican, she won re-election on the Democratic, Conservative, Independence and Reform parties lines, after narrowly losing the GOP primary. She has clearly had aspirations for a bigger governmental role, having challenged Dan Stec for GOP nomination for the state Assembly post that Stec eventually won in 2012.
I had heard that county Democratic leaders were soliciting Democratic members of the board to see if they had interest in seeking the chairmanship.
So does Wood have a chance? It could be interesting. If the Democrats stick with their party, and the Republicans who have been dissatisfied, band together, the vote could be close.
But the rumors as of Tuesday were that at least one or two of the Republicans who have been at odds with the establishment will still stay with Geraghty, which would make it very difficult for Wood to get the needed votes.
Of course, the one thing that everyone who has ever run for office will tell you is that voters often tell you one thing but do another. So Wednesday's organizational meeting will be much more interesting than usual.
-- Don Lehman