Democrats in Rotterdam will have an opportunity to vote for their preferred candidates for town board at the Tuesday, Sept. 18, primary.
Two town board seats are up for election this fall because Democrat Robert Godlewski is running for a seat in the Schenectady County Legislature and Democrat Diane Marco is retiring.
According to Rotterdam’s Democratic Committee Chairman Tony Cervera, the committee has endorsed two candidates: Richard Leet and John Silva.
John Denny, who applied for the Democratic endorsement, but didn’t receive it, is pushing for the primary.
Leet, a Rotterdam native, is a manager at CVS, and Silva, who moved to Rotterdam about eight years ago from Massachusetts, is the CEO of a health-care company. Denny has lived in Rotterdam his whole life. He attended Schalmont High School and has worked for the town for more than 30 years in the highway department, the water and sewer department and most recently in the Department of Public Works. He is set to retire at the first of the year.
Cervera said Leet and Silva were chosen for the Democratic endorsement because of their leadership positions and because they have been active in the Democratic Party for more than 30 years.
Rich Leet spends a lot of time at St. Gabriel’s Church and is on every committee there is. John Silva is active in helping the homeless and underprivileged through his company and is good at writing grants to keep his operation going, Cervera said.
While both Leet and Silva are relatively unknown in the town, Cervera said he views that as a positive thing.
`I think this is what the town of Rotterdam really needs — some new blood instead of career politicians,` he said.
Denny said because he has worked for the town, he knows how it runs and how to best save money. He is a controversial figure within the town because he has changed party affiliation many times and is currently seeking the Democratic endorsement although he already has the endorsement of the Republican Party.
Cervera views Denny’s attempt to capture the Democratic nomination through a primary as a way to control the ballot.
`He’s already got the Republican nomination, and if he wins this primary he can’t lose,` Cervera said. `We are pretty upset about it, but I think the voters are smart enough to see what’s really going on.`
Denny said he just wants to serve the people in Rotterdam and wishes he didn’t have to belong to any party to do it.
`Party affiliation doesn’t mean a lot to me, but you need to have a party to run for office, unfortunately,` Denny said. `I just want to serve the people and save the taxpayers some money.` “