- By Dan Veaner
Miller was nominated by former Tompkins County Legislator Pat Pryor. She lauded Miller for steady leadership and for dealing with what she called a very challenging and difficult period of time in which she said Republicans have been unwilling to negotiate on most issues, and disruptive crowds have attended town board meetings. She said Miller has realistic goals for the Town to establish a fund balance policy, a reserve policy, a plan for renewable energy for town properties, to revitalize the Economic Development Committee, to support agriculture, support development for families, and create a five year financial plan. Miller said that despite adversity that thwarted her attempts to get initiatives passed, the Town has made some advances.
"It was a very difficult four years," she said. "I do feel that we made some advances. We have a part time planner, which is better than no planner. Salt Point is absolutely beautiful, and there was some push-back (from Republicans) on Salt Point. The Planning Board is now actually going to Planning Federation Meetings again, which is wonderful. How can you plan when you don't know what you're doing? And for years they were held back from doing that. We're making a concerted effort to look into storm water with all our developments. I know people complained about the land use ordinance, but the one thing I wanted to see in there was site planning. It's not perfect, but at least it's an original look at what's going on that wasn't even happening before."
Miller said she would like to get a fracking ban passed. She said she thinks the NYS Public Service Commission has made up their mind about repowering the Cayuga Power Plant and is stringing us along, and that NYSEG is, as well.
"After all, this is a Spanish company that doesn't have any loyalties to the United States," she said. "What I would do is ask those of you who are sitting here to please think of giving something to the Town," Miller said. "We really need people to get involved. It would be wonderful for a group to come to Town Board meetings, just to be a presence."
Miller, Binkewicz and Benson were unanimously elected to be the Democratic candidates. Each has served on the Board will Miller in the past. Binkewicz served a term in 2000, then filled Benson's seat when she had to resign in 2012 to take care of her husband after a debilitating accident. In addition to service on the Town Board, Binkewicz and Benson have been leaders in the community, volunteer and leading volunteer groups that are now embedded in Lansing.
"I was ready to retire from politics," said Binkewicz. "I really feel this is such a pivotal time for the Town that I can't back away from it. Kathy has been working so hard. It would be great to have a good team pulling with her. We could pass no fracking, get some reserves, we could really plan. We could make sense if we could get a majority in there."
Designating petitions require qualified signatures by party members equaling not less than 5% of registered party members in the last election for which a particular position was voted upon. Caucuses are open meetings at which candidates are nominated for political offices. While Democrats famously nominate candidates in caucuses while Republicans tend to get signatures on designating petitions, the parties don't always follow that pattern in all communities. They do in Lansing, however. Local Republican candidates have been set since designating petitions were accepted by the Tompkins County Board of Elections in July.
The Republican Supervisor candidate will be determined in next Thursday's primary election in which Councilman Ed LaVigne is facing off against Chris Williams (read their interviews in this issue of the Lansing Star: LaVigne Interview | Williams Interview). Former Councilwoman Connie Wilcox and Rick Hayes are the Republican candidates for two open Town Council seats being vacated by LaVigne and Democrat Ruth Hopkins. Ironically, Benson was a Republican when she served onthe Town Board, and Wilcox was a Democrat.
Deputy Highway Superintendent Charlie 'Cricket' Purcell is running for the top seat in the Highway Department in the wake of retiring Superintendent Jack French. Town Clerk Debbie Crandall will be running for another term as Town Clerk. Town Justice John Howell is also running for an additional term. All but Williams also submitted petitions for the Independence Party line.
Hurf Sheldon moved to endorse Purcell, Crandall and Howell, saying that they are very qualified in the positions they are running for, and in the absence of Democratic candidates for those positions he felt the party should lend them its endorsement. Miller spoke in favor of the idea, saying that all three are doing excellent work for the Town.
"I can say unequivocally that Cricket does a very good job," Miller said. "He tried really hard to deal with the residents on all the storm water problems we had this Spring. he is willing to talk to people.He has a very nice way abiout him. He's a breath of fresh air."
The motion passed, with three opposed and three abstentions. An endorsement is simply a statement in support of the candidates. They will not appear on the Democratic Party line on the ballot.
"We're going to run hard," Binkewicz said. "We're going to try our best. But it's going to fall on all of you and your friends. Everybody needs to not just vote, but to get five to ten more people out to vote. Reach out into the community. Talk to people. We are going to need those extra votes to be successful."
The polls will be open for the Republican Primary Thursday, September 10th from noon to 9pm. The general election is set for November 3 from 6am to 9pm.