SARANAC LAKE - For years, Diana Trummer stood behind her video camera in the old village offices, recording hours and hours of village board meetings for broadcast on local public access television.
Now she wants to see what life is like on the other end of the camera lens.
Trummer was nominated Tuesday by the village Republican caucus to run for mayor against incumbent Democrat Clyde Rabideau. It's the first run for public office for Trummer, who's the help desk technician at North Country Community College, where she's worked for 22 years.
Joining her on the GOP ticket are incumbent Trustee Allie Pelletieri, who's also won Democrat and Conservative party backing, and newcomer Gary Hoffman. That creates a three-way race for the two trustee seats on the ballot, as the Democrats have endorsed incumbent Tom Catillaz in his re-election bid.
Roughly 15 people showed up for the Republican caucus, held in the village offices on the second floor of the Harrietstown Town Hall. Caucus Chairman Bob Brown said two letters of intent had been submitted for the position of mayor. The first one he read was from Rabideau, who asked for a cross-endorsement. He wasn't present for Tuesday's caucus, but Brown read his letter aloud to the group.
"I'm not a member of the Republican Party, however, my village record shows that whether I was in the majority party or minority party, I worked with everyone on the board regardless of party affiliation," Rabideau wrote, describing himself as a fiscal conservative who's helped control taxes, create jobs, bring in grants and rebuild village infrastructure.
When Rabideau's nomination came up for a vote, however, it failed for lack of a second.
The second letter for the mayor's seat was from Trummer. Asked to speak to the caucus, she described herself as "kind of an activist" on village issues and a lifelong resident of the village.
"The last couple years have been really economically intense, to the point where I considered leaving Saranac Lake," Trummer said. "But I was like, 'I live here. My family comes from here. My children live here. I like being here.' So I decided, you know that saying where if you're not part of the problem, you can fix it or whatever? I think I can do that. I have a lot of ideas."
Trummer said she's been a union president at the college for 15 years. She said her experience videotaping board meetings has also given her an understanding of village government, although it's been several years since she's recorded any meetings.
"I understand the budget process," she said. "I understand infrastructure. I understand the importance of teamwork. To me, that's essential. You have the mayor, and you have the trustees. It's not an 'I did this' and 'I did that.' I'd like to get back to the 'We do this.'"
Trummer is also known in the community for winning the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Ladies Fry Pan Toss several years running.
"If you do become mayor, let's hope you're accurate with those frying pans," Brown quipped.
The caucus approved her nomination without opposition.
Asked after the caucus about running against Rabideau, who was Plattsburgh's mayor for 10 years before he came to Saranac Lake, Trummer said he has a lot of experience.
"I think he's done some good things, but change is always good," she said. "It's always good to have a choice."
Three people had submitted letters of intent for the two available trustee seats: Hoffman, Pelletieri and Catillaz.
Hoffman, in his letter, said he's a former Wilmington town justice, a life member of the Disabled American Veterans and a member of the Combat Veterans Association, the New York State Magistrates Association and the Saranac Lake Fish and Game Club. He listed issues he's passionate about, including youth programs, fiscal responsibility and transparency, substance abuse prevention, attracting tourism, village redevelopment and planning, infrastructure planning, veterans issues and emergency preparedness.
Hoffman has lived in the village for two years.
"It's not a long time," he said, "but ever since I moved here, I really love Saranac Lake. It's very artsy, very friendly. I feel like I should do something to give back to the town."
Pelletieri said he's worked for the best interest of all village residents and has tried to protect "the taxpayers' wallets first." He said the village has big infrastructure projects in the works, and he promised to keep a close watch on the expenses associated with each project. A Conservative Party member, Pelletieri noted he's currently the only non-Democrat on the board.
"Things have gone pretty good, but it would be nice to have somebody else with me to back me up and look out for the interests of the public," he said.
Catillaz, who wasn't present for the caucus, said in his letter to the GOP that "Although we are in different political parties, we share many of the same goals for the village."
When it came to a vote, there was no second to Catillaz's nomination. The caucus voted unanimously to back Pelletieri and Hoffman.
The village Conservative Party caucus was also held Tuesday, but only two registered members showed up; Pelletieri and his son Nick.
Allie Pelletieri, who acted as chairman of the caucus and didn't vote, received the backing of the party via a lone vote from his son. Rabideau and Catillaz, via letter, and Trummer and Hoffman, in person, had also asked for Conservative Party support, but the younger Pelletieri didn't endorse any of the four.
Allie Pelletieri said he had reached out to several registered village Conservatives before the meeting to ask them to attend, but only his son showed up.
The election is March 18. Each position carries a four-term.
Contact Chris Knight at 891-2600 ext. 24 or firstname.lastname@example.org.