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Sunny June, the perfect time to vote

The Millerton News Editorial

With the sun beating down and the thermostat rising, it may seem like we should be grabbing our towels and sunscreen and heading to the beach rather than our grabbing our IDs and heading to the ballot box, but for some folks living in these parts, not so fast…

That’s because June is actually one of three times during the year when villages in the state of New York can hold elections (the other months are March and November). The village of Millerton decided to change its election cycle about a year ago, which means on Tuesday, June 15, registered voters need to make it a priority to head to the still-new-to-some Village Offices at 5933 North Elm Ave. (Route 22) between noon to 9 p.m. and cast their ballots for mayor and two village trustees.

This year, current Deputy Mayor Jennifer Najdek (NOP) is running unchallenged for the mayor’s seat as sitting Mayor Debbie Middlebrook decided after serving in that post since 2017 she would not seek re-election. As she had also served as a trustee since 2007, and on the village Planning Board before that, we fully understand her needing to step away and take a well-deserved break. 

During her tenure, Middlebrook consistently served the village of Millerton with an even hand, an open mind, and perhaps most importantly, a ready and genuine smile. From what this newspaper witnessed during her many years at Village Hall, Mayor Debbie Middlebrook routinely treated her constituents — regardless of whether they voted for her — fairly and with great respect, offering a listening ear, an honest response and making an earnest effort to do her best to find the most satisfactory resolution to any problem for all parties involved. 

She was an exemplary civil servant for the community and we are sorry to see her go, but we also know that the village will be in very capable hands, as it will now be turned over to Najdek’s steady and similarly fair-minded leadership.  

Meanwhile, newcomers DeLora Brooks and Laurie Kerr are running in a three-way race against former village Trustee and North East town Supervisor David Sherman for the two open seats on the Village Board.

Sherman, a Republican, is looking to regain his seat on the Village Board and focus on local projects close to him.  

Brooks, a Democrat, is a constant presence at Village Board and many other municipal board meetings; she previously served on the North East Zoning Board of Appeals. 

Kerr, also a Democrat, has been cross-endorsed by both parties. She’s a newcomer, both to the village and local politics, but is already on the Climate Smart Task Force and has offered her services in public policy and as an architect on local projects.

It’s a heated race, which offers hope that the 515 registered village voters will head to the polls this year — despite the world being at the tail end of the COVID-19 pandemic. Historically, municipal elections don’t always draw huge crowds, but when they’re contested elections the turnout tends to be larger. 

It’s so important that people do vote, despite there only being four candidates and three positions up for grabs. It may seem like a small election — but the results matter.

As the mayor said, “If you don’t vote, you are giving up your say in how the community progresses.”

To read up on the candidates, and where they stand on the issues, turn to Page A2.

To read more about the election itself, and more about Middlebrook’s reflections on her tenure as mayor, turn to the front page.

Meanwhile, the town of Amenia is also preparing for an election, as the Republicans will be holding their Primary Election on Tuesday, June 22, at the Wassaic firehouse, at 27 Firehouse Road, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. The town hasn’t held a primary for a number of years, so it’s important Republican voters weigh in on who their candidates will be in the November General Election.

Running in the primary will be incumbent town Supervisor Victoria Perotti, against newcomer Julie Doran, of the Amenia Strong party. 

For the Amenia Town Board, incumbents James Morris and Michele Somogyi are being challenged by newcomers James Vitiello and Brad Rebillard, both of the Amenia Strong party.

Lastly, Republican voters will get to elect two candidates to the Dutchess County Republican Committee. Longtime committee member Mark Doyle is seeking re-election while  Jeanne Rebillard and Apostolis Stefanopoulos are running against him.

More information on the elections may be found at www.elections.dutchessny.gov or by calling the Dutchess County Board of Elections at 845-486-2473.

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