Bevilacqua runs for town supervisor again
Adam Harris joins 3-way race for two town council seats
SARANAC LAKE — At Wednesday’s Harrietstown Republican caucus, former town supervisor Bob Bevilacqua threw his hat in the ring again, making the race for the town’s top spot a contested one.
Adam Harris joined Johnny Williams in a bid for town council, bringing the total to three candidates running for two open board seats: one held by council member Tracey Schrader, who is running for reelection, and one left vacant by Jordanna Mallach, who is running for supervisor on the Democratic line.
The caucus nominated retired State Police investigator Allen Wright to run for town justice in a paper ballot vote over acting Saranac Lake Police Chief Leigh Wenske.
Sabrina Harrison and Dan Martin each earned the Republican nod for town clerk and tax collector, and highway superintendent, respectively, after getting the Democratic nominations last week.
Several longtime local Republican leaders — Tim Moody, Ron Keough and caucus Chair Ray Scollin — noted the large size of the caucus. Forty-seven Republicans voted in the caucus, the most in a long time as attendance has waned in recent years.
“It made our month,” Scollin said of the turnout.
Last week, Democrats nominated council member Jordanna Mallach to run for supervisor as current Supervisor Mike Kilroy is not running for reelection. Kilroy said he thinks it is time for a change and after 32 years of working for the town, seven as supervisor, he’s ready to hand the reins to someone new.
On Saturday, Mallach deployed with the Vermont Army National Guard to Kosovo, 4,400 miles away, where she will work at the NATO headquarters until March 2022.
Schrader also got the Democratic nomination to run for reelection last week, along with Williams, who is registered as an independent voter. Schrader, Williams and Harris are all running for two seats.
Scollin noted that the Republicans are sharing three nominations with the Democrats — Martin, Harrison and Williams.
“What does that mean? It means that national politics have no business here in this town,” he said. “This is about finding the right people for the job.”
The election will be held Nov. 2.
“It is my honor to nominate my brother Bob Bevilacqua for supervisor,” Cherie Sayles said at the caucus.
With a second by Ron Keough and no further nominations, Beveilacqua became the party’s nominee with applause from the crowd.
Beveilacqua was town supervisor from January 2013 to May 2014, when he resigned, citing a family health issue.
He said he’s the local election chair and it’s his job to fill out the ballot, recruiting people to run for positions like town supervisor. But instead of convincing someone else to run, he convinced himself.
“The more I talked about it, the more I realized I missed it,” Bevilacqua said.
He went camping last weekend and spent some time thinking about it.
“Why am I asking other people to do the job that I really enjoy?” he asked himself.
Bevilacqua said he believes the town board is running smoothly now and he’d like to continue Kilroy’s work.
During Bevilacqua’s term, the town was in the midst of renovating the town hall and building a ski lodge at Dewey Mountain. He said he found the work rewarding.
Bevilacqua said he’ll get up to speed on the town’s current issues by attending upcoming meetings.
He owns Carcuzzi Car Care Center in Saranac Lake.
He was asked about the fact that his Democratic opponent, Mallach, is running for office from out of the country.
“She’s serving her country; how can you say anything bad about that?” Bevilacqua said.
Williams and Harris both filed letters of intent to run for town council. Williams already secured the Democratic nomination at last week’s caucus.
Harris said he wears many hats already but wants to add one more.
He’s currently on the Saranac Lake village Development Board, was co-chair of the village Downtown Advisory Board and chaired DAB’s committee on economic development.
He moved to Saranac Lake from Utica in 2003. He bought the bar that he renamed Grizle-T’s in 2007, he opened Borracho Taco in 2010 and has since sold the restaurant, and he’s a Realtor with Say Realty.
Harris joked that he ran because “Someone’s got to lose,” but he also said he’s seriously interested in the role and wants to contribute more to his community.
If elected, he said he’d be someone who works with others well.
“There’s no Republican or Democrat when you’re putting in a culvert,” Harris said. “I want to be a public servant, not a politician.”
He said he sees a lot of potential in the town business park in Lake Clear.
Williams said he believes the board is doing a good job right now but hopes to bring another point of view. As an independent, he said he can appreciate all points of view and believes he can bring organization and communication skills to the board.
Asked why he wanted to run, Williams said simply, “It’s time.”
He said he’s lived in town for much of his life, opened businesses here, built skills and relationships and wants to better his community.
Clerk and tax collector
Harrison has been Harrietstown’s court clerk for six years and said when she got the job of deputy clerk two years ago, running for town clerk was her ultimate goal. She said she enjoys the people she works with and looks forward to interacting with the public more.
She was nominated by Bevilacqua, her father.
Wright, a retired State Police trooper and investigator, won the nomination 27-16 in a vote against Wenske, the current acting chief of Saranac Lake police.
Wenske plans to retire at the end of August and said he wanted to extend his work for his community.
Wright was a forensic investigator with the State Police and though he’s been retired for seven years, he still runs a forensic consulting business and is an adjunct professor of forensic studies at North Country Community College.
As a trooper, investigator and senior investigator, he said he spent a lot of time in court.
“My favorite time in court as a trooper was the time I was in local criminal court and town court,” Wright said. “That’s when I noticed the judge wasn’t ruling so much with blinders on, but each person that came in was an individual person.”
He likes the personal element of local court.
“It’s not about the big case. It’s about the problem that’s in front of you,” Allen said. “You get to se the individual person. … It’s more about helping people.”
He said the job is about “fairness and respect” and believes if you give respect, you’ll get it. He looks up to singer-songwriter John Prine and said he seeks to emulate the way he studied people.
“I want to see each person for who they are,” he said.
Martin is the incumbent highway superintendent. Though he is a Democrat, Republicans nominated him as their candidate, as there were no other nominations.