DELMAR — Local Democrats were first out of the gate by naming their slate of candidates for November.
The Bethlehem Democratic Committee announced six candidates, all but one — including Town Supervisor David VanLuven — are incumbents. The lone plus one, David DeCancio, will essentially be vying for Republican Jim Foster’s seat on the town board.
“We have a diverse group of public servants with roots in the community, deep track records of expertise and results, and demonstrated commitment to delivering for Bethlehem,” shared BDC Chair Joanne Cunningham in an emailed statement. “Bethlehem could not ask for a more top-tier group of public servants.”
In addition to the town supervisor position, voters will decide upon two board positions, highway superintendent, town justice and town clerk. The endorsement selections were made after a months-long recruitment process that invited Democrats in the Town of Bethlehem to submit letters of interest for BDC endorsement, an interview process conducted by the Executive Committee of the BDC and overwhelming votes of support from the BDC earlier this month
“We are particularly excited about the newest member of our slate, David DeCancio, a Selkirk resident with an incredible track record of service to community. David is a showcase of exactly the kind of person we want to see in public service,” Cunningham stated.
The endorsed slate of candidates includes VanLuven, for town supervisor; Marc Dorsey, for highway superintendent; Maureen Cunningham, town board; DeCancio, for town board; Andrew Kirby, for town justice; and Nanci Moquin, for town clerk.
DeCancio is new to local politics but has been visible in community endeavors, including volunteer work for Bethlehem First Night and a vocal advocate for the Selkirk Fire District’s 2020 Building Project Bond.
“Growing up, my parents instilled in me the importance of giving back to the community as a way to repay this great country that welcomed and provided us with hope and opportunity.” DeCancio said. “That’s why for the past two decades I’ve been an active member of our community.
The incumbent-heavy list includes two candidates seeking just their second terms in office, one of whom cited how challenging that first term was.
Dorsey, who took office at the start of last year, faced several challenges unique to 2020. The highway czar praised his team for facing down a massive cleanup after a rare, October windstorm and an above average winter season, with a staff cut down by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This year has been enormously challenging for the Highway Department and I am so proud of our team,” Dorsey said, adding that his staff was cut by 10 percent, nor did he have his usual roster of seasonal workers. “I am looking forward to continuing to serve Bethlehem’s residents.”
Maureen Cunningham’s first term in office is most noted for her efforts related to racial justice and diversity, and her push for installing clean energy infrastructure.
“I am so proud of the many positive strides forward we have made in recent years, from expanding parklands and installing clean energy infrastructure to updating our comprehensive plan and prioritizing diversity and racial justice,” she said.
In contrast to those with fledgling careers at Town Hall, Kirby seeks his third term on the bench, and Moquin is looking for her seventh run. Though Town Hall has been closed to the public since last March, Moquin and her staff issued 100 marriage licenses. Continuing town services despite the pandemic was a point of pride for VanLuven, too.
“I’m impressed and proud of the COVID-inspired innovation and resilience of our town government, and I’m proud to have been part of it as we’ve adapted to keep delivering services during the pandemic and economic collapse,” he said.
VanLuven seeks his third term as town supervisor. He ran uncontested in 2019.
Town Republicans have until the end of the month to submit their endorsements for Election Day.