In nominating Zatz for the two-year position, David Sides asked his fellow Democrats to demand several important qualities of their candidate: leadership, professionalism, strong communication and an ability to collaborate and make informed decisions.
“For years, Carl Zatz has demonstrated the important qualities of a highly successful businessman. He is a former supervisor, the man who built this [Gardiner] Town Hall. He brought a sense of community and fairness to town affairs. Let’s bring those qualities back. Ladies and gentlemen, I nominate Carl Zatz for supervisor,” said Sides.
The motion was seconded by Bruce Pileggi.
“I like Zatz,” he said.
In accepting the party’s nomination, Zatz acknowledged that Democratic supporters’ sustained enthusiasm was the key to success in the fall.
“We have to take the next couple of months very seriously. We have to run with a good deal of commitment, a good deal of devotion to what we believe in -- and there’s no good Italian wedding that doesn’t have a pillowcase that says, ‘A journey of a million miles starts with one dollar.’ So this is our first fundraiser,” said Zatz, brandishing a white pillowcase which was then circulated through the audience.
Joining Zatz in this year’s race for Town Board are incumbent councilman Warren Wiegand and political newcomer Mike Reynolds.
Wiegand was nominated for the Town Board by Ray Smith. The motion was seconded by George Majestic.
“He’s been a good friend; he’s done an awful lot for this town in a short period of time. He’s a fiscal conservative, who helped raise $1 million for the library...and I do believe we really need him in this upcoming election, in a time of unfunded mandates that are coming our way,” said Majestic.
Reynolds was nominated for Town Board by John Reilly. The motion was seconded by wife Dianne Kulacz Reynolds.
“I’ve had the privilege to work with Mike and think he would make a great candidate for the town board,” said Reilly.
Wiegand thanked the crowd for their attendance and support in spite of the perilous Friday night downpour. Like Zatz, he acknowledged that this year’s race would be a difficult one for Gardiner’s Democratic candidates.
“The last time around, the Gardiner Democrats lost two seats on the Town Board. If we lose one seat in this election, all the work that’s been done by many dedicated people over the last ten years is in jeopardy of going away. We have to elect all three of us to the Town Board in order to protect what people have worked for. The Democrats and Independents need to turn out,” said Wiegand.
He expressed gratitude to Smith and Majestic for the nomination, to his wife for her political savvy, and to former Town Board member Greg Finger.
“If I could indulge for just a second... I want to remember Greg Finger and how important he was to this community and to me. This is for you, Greg,” said Wiegand.
Reynolds also cited Finger as an inspiration in thanking the party for its nomination.
“I would also like to say that Greg Finger inspired me. Greg was the person who got me interested in [running for the board]. I’m looking forward to getting to know all of you, and I’m very excited about the nomination. Thank you very much,” said Reynolds.
Incumbent Democratic Highway Supervisor Charles Haynes was nominated by Brian Stiscia and seconded by Carl Zatz. With over 30 years’ experience, Haynes is one of the longest-serving Highway Superintendents in New York State.
“When a project’s undertaken by [the Highway Department], it’s done neat and it’s done clean and it’s done professionally. I think that the town is lucky to have such a person like Charlie in control of the Highway Department,” said Stiscia.
Haynes thanked his party for their continued support.
“It’s always a pleasure and an honor to be here and supported by the party. The last two years have been very difficult. We’re hoping that maybe we can go back to normal for the next couple of years,” said Haynes.
He shared the honor with his department.
“My highway crew is the best. These guys are dedicated, they’re such an unbelievable bunch of people and I probably wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them,” he said.
John Simonson nominated law partner Bruce Blatchly for another four-year term as Town Justice. The motion was seconded by wife Valerie Simonson.
“Bruce has roots that go deep into Gardiner,” said John Simonson. “Since 1995 he has served as our Town Justice, and he has done that with distinction. I am very proud to nominate Bruce Blatchly,” he said.
Blatchly, who was unable to attend the caucus, thanked the party for their endorsement via a letter read by Simonson.
“I hope that I have your support in seeking reelection... I am cross-endorsed this year, don’t expect my campaign to be a drain on the campaign coffers,” wrote Blatchly.
The uncontested nominations were recorded by caucus secretary Glenn McNitt. Chairman Leon Steiner accepted a motion to close the caucus before 8 p.m.
“I am so pleased we got through this without any opposition,” said Steiner.