At outdoor caucus, Dems nominate Kelly Brunette for Saranac Lake board

Kelly Brunette, who was nominated at a Democratic caucus Tuesday night to run for an open Saranac Lake village board seat, speaks through a megaphone to a crowd of around 40 people at Berkeley Green. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

SARANAC LAKE — It was 25 degrees and snowing in Berkeley Green Tuesday night when Kelly Brunette became the Democratic nominee for the March 16 village board election at an outdoor caucus.

Currently, Brunette is the only candidate in the race, but the period for independent candidates has not occurred yet. Candidates can file independent nominating petitions starting on Feb. 2 and can collect signatures up until the petition deadline Feb. 9.

The Republican Party did not plan a caucus for this election.

Because of the pandemic, caucuses could not be held indoors safely, so around 40 registered Democrats came to the park after dark Tuesday to choose a nominee to run to serve the last year in a two-year term. There was only one candidate — Brunette — and she was chosen by unanimous consent.

Former Trustee Patrick Murphy resigned from this position in July to devote more time to his work as executive director of the Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce. The next month, village Mayor Clyde Rabideau appointed Zelda Newman to fill the vacant seat. She would have to run again to serve for the next year but has not made any plans to do so.

Kelly Brunette (Photo provided)

Paul Herrmann nominated Brunette, and Leslie Dame seconded the motion. After no one else announced a nomination, Herrmann called for a unanimous consent on Brunette’s nomination, and Steve Erman seconded that.

Brunette moved into the Saranac Lake community in 2004, returning to the area a few years after attending Paul Smith’s College. Since then, she has put down roots and started a family.

Brunette has worked for the village before, spending 10 years in the village community development office. She is currently the Saranac Lake regional destination manager for the Franklin County Industrial Development Agency.

She also said she has also worked on the Saranac Lake Downtown Advisory Board, Pendragon Theatre Board, Community Enhancement Fund Committee, Downtown Revitalization Initiative Project Advisory Committee, Adirondack Community Recreation Alliance, Music on the Green Committee and the StreetFest Committee.

In a speech, Brunette thanked the nine women who have served on the board.

“We all know a village does better when it has diversity at the table making decisions,” Brunette said.

She said she would be honored to continue their legacy.

Afterward, in an interview, she said she loves Saranac Lake and explained why she wanted to run for office.

“It’s the conversations I’ve had, the listening, the learning, the rolling up my sleeves and doing work. All of that has been drops in the bucket,” she said. “I feel like my bucket is full. I was motivated to run because of that.”

Brunette thanked everyone who came out to the caucus and said she was excited to receive their nomination.

“I’m up for the work,” she said. “I’m ready for it.”

The Saranac Lake village board will decide next month if it will mail out absentee ballot applications to all registered voters, as it did last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The polls on March 16, a Tuesday, will be open from noon to 9 p.m.

(Correction: An earlier version of this article gave the wrong year when Brunette moved to Saranac Lake. The Enterprise regrets the error.)


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