Andes Dems have Town Board primary
By Joe Moskowitz
Registered Democrats in the Town of Andes are being asked to make an unusual decision on Tuesday, Sept. 10. They are being asked to choose which one of three men they want to put on the ballot in November as candidates for the town board.
About a week prior to the petition deadline, Democratic Committee Chairman Fred Cubero put out a call for all good men or women, or at least one good man or women, to come to the aid of the party. He was trying to get someone to run for town board. Currently there are two Democrats, two Republicans, and Supervisor Marty Donnelley, a Republican serving, on the board. Donnelly is running unopposed, but both Republican board members are seeking re-election. If a Democrat can get more votes than at least one of the Republicans, then the Democrats could take control of the Andes Town Board. Cubero didn’t want this potential opportunity to slip away.
Without being aware of what the others were doing, three people; Samuel Fundaro, Dale Cole and Thomas Joyce circulated petitions and much to their surprise, as well as Cubero’s, the Democrats suddenly had three people running in the primary for town board spots.
Fundaro did not respond to a request by the News for an interview, but Cole and Joyce did, and profiles of these two Democratic candidates for town board follow.
Town of Andes resident Dale Cole is no stranger to politics. In 2005 the Democrat challenged Republican incumbent Marty Donnelly for town supervisor. Despite there being three times as many enrolled Republicans as Democrats in Andes, Cole came within about a dozen votes of pulling off a stunning upset. If he could have changed the minds of six or seven voters he would have won. He blamed his loss on a failure to campaign hard enough in the hamlet of Andes.
Ready to run again
The next year, his home in the hamlet was flooded out for the second time and he moved to the higher ground on Cabin Hill where he started a horse farm. Cole told the News that his farm has kept him busy and away from politics, but now he wants to get back in the game.
Well known to people in Andes, Dale is a graduate of Castleton State College in Vermont. Aside from his college years, and Vietnam era military service, he has spent his life in Andes. He is a retired mail carrier and a former firefighter and EMS volunteer.
Cole’s family, on his father’s side, has been in Andes since about 1900, but he says his roots probably go back further than anyone else in town. His mother traces her roots to the Pepacton Indians. Cole stays active as a volunteer assistant baseball and basketball coach at South Kortright Central School and has coached about 50 different sports teams at every level from American Legion, on up to college.
If he gets elected to the town board, Dale says he wants to find out why Andes didn’t get as much flood recovery money from the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) as he feels the town is entitled to. By his calculations, the town should have received about $375,000 to pay for 2006 flood dame, but only got $75,000. He questions whether the town put enough pressure on FEMA.
Cole would also like to see what could be done to get better cell phone service in the Town of Andes. He points to improved service in Margaretville and Arkville and says Andes needs wireless phone service too. He also says he would like to do whatever he can to get the Bobcat Ski Center running again. He says he knows the key players and would do everything he can to get the lifts running again.
Cole says he would like to keep town budget increases under two percent each year and he would do what he can to encourage people to build more lodging facilities.
Thomas Joyce says Andes Democrats have been trying to get him to run for supervisor for years and he still won’t do it. But this year, he is one of three Democrats seeking a position of the town board.
Joyce is a relative newcomer to the area having moved to Andes in 2000 where he quickly established himself as a major player in the community. A New York City restaurant owner, Joyce also opened a restaurant, Cantina, in Andes, which he and his wife operated successfully for several years. He holds a degree from the University of Virginia as well as a law degree from Seton Hall.
Joyce says he received a special commendation for volunteer work as a first responder following the World Trade Center attacks.
Though a Democrat, Joyce says he doesn’t believe political parties have anything to do with running a government at the town level. But while he is not a fan of partisan politics, he is a big supporter of an effort to get second homeowners, many of whom are Democrats, to register to vote in Andes.
Joyce, as do many people ,would like to get wireless carriers, with help from the State of New York, if needed, to provide greater cell phone coverage. He says it is ridiculous when his friend could make a call during a trip to the Sahara Desert, but can’t make a cell phone call in Andes.
Joyce, says the area needs to take greater advantage of the interest in “locally sourced” foods. He says there is a huge demand for it in the New York Metropolitan area and local farmers should provide more of it. He says there is still enough land available at affordable prices. He says there are agencies that are willing to help provide funding and other assistance, and if elected, he would like to do whatever he can to help get people to get into the farming business.
Joyce is also a supporter of both the proposed Belleayre Resort and the planned Aman Resort near Andes. Aman developers have already purchased property in Andes, including the Cantina building, Joyce’s former restaurant.
He would also like to see Andes promote itself as, “a premiere outdoor sport’s destination and second home location.” He says this can be done at little or no cost by utilizing social media.
And he says he would like to help the elderly and economically disadvantaged become aware of what is available to them, “not just to survive, but to lead the fullest, most productive lives possible” he added.