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Saranac Lake Dems to caucus Monday to select a pair of trustee candidates

SARANAC LAKE — Candidates are being lined up for two trustee openings on the village board, to give Saranac Lake voters options when they go to the polls Wednesday, March 18. While it looks like there will be Democrats on the ballots, Republican candidates may have to run as independents, since their party missed the deadline to schedule a caucus.

The local Democratic committee will choose its two nominees at its caucus Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the village offices, on the second floor of the Harrietstown Town Hall, 39 Main St.

Incumbent Trustees Rich Shapiro and Tom Catillaz, both Democrats, are seeking the nomination to run, according to Franklin County Legislator Lindy Ellis, Shapiro’s wife. Shapiro was elected in 2016 and is seeking a second term on the five-person village Board of Trustees. Catillaz, who has served several terms in the past as trustee and mayor, was appointed to the position in December to fill a vacancy left by Paul Van Cott.

Green Party candidate Fred Balzac has told the Enterprise he also intends to run for one of the trustee openings.

Village Clerk Kareen Tyler said the deadline to file for a caucus was Tuesday, Jan. 21, and the Republican Party did not file. In a phone interview Friday, former chair of the Franklin County Republican Committee Ray Scollin said the party was considering more than one candidate to nominate, but he didn’t know the caucus scheduling deadline had passed. He said he didn’t want to name the candidates the committee had in mind yet.

Scollin also expressed surprise about Catillaz. He said before Catillaz was appointed to the board in December, village Mayor Clyde Rabideau, a Democrat, called Scollin and told him he wanted to put Catillaz on the board with the intention of it being a short-term solution, and that Catillaz wouldn’t run this spring.

As of Friday, Rabideau was surprised to hear Catillaz was running for election. He confirmed the phone conversation with Scollin.

“Tom and I are friends,” Rabideau said. “I have great respect for him, and I believe he will explain to us why he decided to run again.”

Catillaz confirmed he is running again in a phone interview Friday.

“I enjoy it a lot,” he said about the trustee position.

He said there isn’t one particular reason he’d like to stay on the board, but said improving infrastructure would be one of his goals going forward.

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