Amid a contentious debate around the future of Seneca Falls — two more candidates have officially gained party support.
Doug Avery, a retired teacher from Mynderse Academy, and incumbent Town Councilor Dave DeLelys both received the nod from Democrats to seek the available seats in November’s election.
Republicans Steve Turkett and Thomas Ruzicka have both received support from Republicans in their bid for the same seats.
Avery’s introduction into politics began last year, as a growing debate around landfilling in the Finger Lakes was taking place. He and other organizers have been voices of opposition to the Seneca Meadows Landfill. However, Avery noted in a statement to FingerLakes1.com that he is looking forward to tackling a variety of important issues.
“There is so much more that requires attention,” noted Avery. “The need for an open, honest and approachable town government is paramount.” He added that addressing fiscal issues, infrastructure concerns, and promoting tourism and business investment are among his top concerns.
“Our town is at a real crossroad. The decisions we make in the next few years will either secure our future as a thriving gateway to the Finger Lakes or doom us to a future of trash and a shrinking tax base,” added the candidate seeking one of two available four-year terms.
Last year two appointed board members were defeated by Republican’s in an election that was consumed by the landfill debate. Avery called the results ‘distorted’ based on the infusion of money from Seneca Meadows.
Avery added that his goal is to see a process that allows for honest discourse on issues important to taxpayers. He also said that his campaign will rely on small donations — instead of large, mass contributions.
He spoke to the uphill battle before himself and DeLelys, even if both are able to claim victory in November’s election. “We will still be the minority voice on the board. To whatever extent possible, though, I plan to insist that the governmental process be transparent.”
Avery said that being a conduit for change is an important part of his campaign. Beyond encouraging transparency, he noted that allowing a public dialogue within the board is a necessity.
Two separate incidents involving the Town Board have made headlines in recent months, which will undoubtedly be part of the conversation moving forward, as voters decide this fall. The first was a scuffle at a local restaurant between Ruzicka and DeLelys, which resulted in court action.
In another incident, a Town Resident was accused of making a verbal threat — and now faces felony charges — following an incident in June. That threat, which was directed at a member of the Town Board, as well as an employee of the landfill — added another wrinkle to ongoing debate around the future of Seneca Falls.
The caucus, which was held at the Seneca Falls Community Center on Wednesday also saw the affirmation of Sean Laquidari’s candidacy, who will be seeking another term as Town Justice alongside Chuck Laffler. There are two seats available for justice’s in Seneca Falls.