SARANAC LAKE - Two political veterans won seats on the Harrietstown board today, but a political newcomer was the top vote getter.
Retired state Department of Corrections employee Ed Goetz, a Democrat, received the most votes in a three-way race for two, four-year terms on the board, collecting 567 votes.
Veteran town Councilman Ron Keough, a Republican, was also elected to another term. He received 540 votes.
Ed Goetz, the top vote getter in the Harrietstown Town Council race, hugs Barb Rice, who won a Franklin County legsilative seat, after the results came in Tuesday night at the Harrietstown Town Hall in Saranac Lake.
(Enterprise photo — Chris Knight)
Former deputy town clerk Patricia Meagher, a Republican, came up short in her first run for elected office, but still had a strong showing. She received 515 votes.
In the race for a two-year seat, Democrat Howard Riley defeated Gerald Gillmett, who's an independent but was endorsed by the Republican and Conservative parties, 549 to 346.
Goetz told the Enterprise he was "astonished" to have received the most votes and said he was "still in a bit of a daze."
"Hopefully the voters have asked me to be their voice, and I will be their voice, and I hope that's the direction we head in," he said.
During the campaign, Goetz had said he didn't feel like the concerns of the people were being heard and said he was concerned about the town's "spending habits," particularly at the town-run Adirondack Regional Airport. He said tonight he plans to waste no time in getting to work for the taxpayers.
"I will take the budget apart, and I'll sit down and see where we can cut and what we can't cut," Goetz said.
Keough said he was pleased with the results although he acknowledged it was a close race.
"I'm just happy that the voters had confidence in me to bring me back again," he said.
Keough added that he feels he can work well with the new members of the board.
"I've been through a lot of different boards over the years," he said. "The main thing is to not lose sight of what you're about, which is the taxpayer and how you serve them. You've just gotta work with people."
Even though she didn't win, Meagher said she wasn't discouraged with the results because the race was so close.
"It was very tight, and a couple good guys won so I'll be keeping an eye on them," she said. "I said going into it that if I win, I win, and if I don't, I don't and I can try another time."
Riley had served a prior term on the town board and is also a former town justice and Saranac Lake village mayor, trustee and manager. He said he was happy with his showing Tuesday and looks forward to getting back on the board.
"I think my being around for so long and my experience probably gave me a leg up," Riley said.
Gillmett shook hands with Riley and congratulated him, but he left the Harrietstown Town Hall before the Enterprise could speak with him.
The election results mean the town board will now have a Democratic majority for the first time in years, with Goetz and Riley joining fellow Democrat Nichole Meyette. Keough and town Supervisor Bob Bevilacqua are both Republicans.
Bevilacqua told the Enterprise tonight that he doesn't think party politics has ever been or will be much of an issue on the local level and that he's confident the new board will work well together.
Contact Chris Knight at 518-891-2600 ext. 24 or firstname.lastname@example.org.