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With Election Day, hope springs eternal

It may be mid-March, but in the village of Millerton, it’s just about Election Day. Unlike the town of North East in which the village sits,  Millerton is on a different election and budget cycle. That means spring elections, falling this year on Tuesday, March 20.

This year there is a full slate of candidates running for two open seats on the Village Board. Trustee Stephen Waite — a popular and effective politician — has opted not to run for re-election. We’re sorry to see him go, but hope he’ll continue to stay as involved as he can in local affairs.

His colleague, Trustee Dave Sherman, is seeking another term. In addition to running for re-election, Sherman, a Republican, is joined on the GOP ticket and on the independent Millerton Vision Party line by candidate Alicia Sartori. Sartori is actually a Democrat — but that makes little difference in local elections where party lines often blur.

The Democrats put forward two of their own candidates: Matt Hartzog and Eliot Ramos. All told, the four candidates are vying for two open seats, both holding two-year terms.

The Village Board — the governing body for the village of Millerton — is run by Mayor Debbie Middlebrook and manned by four trustees, including Christine Bates and Jenn Najdek. The other two trustees will be determined on Election Day. What’s important is that all of the board members work together to help Millerton run smoothly and successfully.

In talking with the candidates, this newspaper learned that all four candidates join with current board members in understanding how critical it is to obtain vital grant dollars, to help put ambitious goals to action. Projects like implementing the newly-completed pedestrian plan and finalizing the joint comprehensive plan update with the town of North East will rely on such funding. Other work, like perhaps establishing a future wastewater system, installing water meters or continuing to repair and replace water mains and connections throughout the village, all depend on having the financial means to afford the work.

Electing trustees who understand that need is important. And the good news is that of the four candidates, all seem well aware of the urgency of obtaining grant dollars.

Another important characteristic of local leaders should be their ability to work together, to form a united front, to collaborate and cooperate. Those on the board currently seem pretty adept at doing so. Those who join them will hopefully continue the trend.  

All four candidates seem capable and enthusiastic. They appear intelligent, thoughtful and caring. To learn more about the candidates and their goals, read their profiles on this week’s Page A1.

It says a lot about a person that he or she is willing to step forward and serve his or her community. The time involved, the aggravation, the stress, the criticism — none of it is easy. But those who serve do so for the common good. They are truly concerned about the community’s welfare — they are altruistic and, just as importantly, they are energetic and motivated. Let’s hope that the two candidates who win on March 20 are also effective.

But they won’t have that chance if you don’t vote. It’s every citizen’s duty to head to the polls on any Election Day — village elections included. In this country — the most democratic nation in the world — it’s our right to vote, it’s our privilege to vote and it’s our responsibility to vote. Remember that the next time you’re dissatisfied with how your government works — and the next time you want to praise your government’s accomplishments. You, the voter, play a very important role in that.