By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
RAVENA — After a huge turnout on the village’s Election Day on March 15, the winners — all running on the Democratic ticket — are now looking to the future of the community.
The three winning candidates — Mayor Bill Misuraca, Trustee Linda Muller and Trustee-elect Caitlin Appleby — will be sworn into office at the village board’s next regular meeting April 5.
Misuraca, a Republican running on the Democratic line, said the number of village residents who cast ballots was the most important number of the night.
“The big number is the actual voter turnout — to have 665 people, which is much higher than we normally get — I was very happy to see the turnout. It means that people care,” Misuraca said.
Misuraca won 81.5% of the vote with 542 votes to Republican challenger Dominic Ruggeri’s 118 votes.
The mayor said now that the election is behind him, he looks forward to continuing with the community improvements that are already in motion, such as the nearly $200,000 grant that was obtained for upgrades to Mosher Park, and bringing in some new ones.
“We will hit the ground running,” Misuraca said. “The park improvements are number one on deck and we are pursuing money to get the infrastructure done and clean up those last few abandoned places on Main Street, and a lot more stuff for the community — we want to make it as attractive as possible to families in general.”
He predicted new Trustee-elect Caitlin Appleby, a social worker by trade, will be a big part of the village’s efforts to spruce up local initiatives for families.
“I am really looking forward to working with her and the entire board,” he said. “We have a great team and it feels good.”
Misuraca is a Republican but did not receive the nomination at the GOP caucus in January, with the nod going to Ruggeri instead. With 36 Republicans in attendance, Misuraca received 12 votes and Ruggeri 24.
Misuraca said the caucus’s result caught him off-guard.
“I believe the attempt by my own party to oust me was a very confusing thing,” he said. “I thought that I have done a good job and I worked hard, and I thought I represented everyone, including the Republicans. To be primaried like that was a shock and a surprise. I didn’t see it coming.”
He was nominated the next day by a unanimous vote at the Democratic caucus, with 42 Democrats attending.
Trustee-elect Caitlin Appleby’s path to victory was also unique. Appleby is a Republican and was nominated at both the GOP and Democratic caucuses, but the Republicans later withdrew their support of her candidacy and did not include her in any campaigning or promotional materials.
On Election Day, her name remained on both the Democratic and Republican lines.
She was the highest vote getter of the night with 571 votes, or nearly 85.7% of voters casting ballots for her for one of the two open seats in the three-way race between Appleby, Muller and Republican candidate Barbara Tanner.
“I am very grateful to everyone who came out and showed their support,” Appleby said. “We couldn’t do this without the voters. We can campaign as much as we want, but it was up to them to come out tonight and they showed us that their voice counts.”
A political newcomer, Appleby said she will work to learn the position and represent the community as best she can.
“I am going to ease into the position because it is very different from my social work background,” Appleby said. “I am a kinesthetic learner — I learn by doing — so I am just going to ease into it and learn as much as I can. I love constructive criticism, so I am very open to feedback.”
“I have no immediate plans as of right now, but give me a couple of months to get my feet underneath me and I will hit the ground running,” she added.
Muller, a Democrat who received 510 votes — or 76.7% of voters giving her the nod for one of the two open seats — will start her second term on the village board in April. She is looking forward to continuing to pursue grant opportunities and implement the ones the village has already acquired.
“I am excited — I can continue with the grants at the park, and we have another couple lined up,” Muller said. “I wanted to serve again so that I could make sure the grants are done, so I am very excited about this.”
Misuraca said the high turnout of voters on Election Day sent a message about how residents feel about their community.
“I think the message was that everybody realized that their vote counts and that’s the most important thing,” he said. “They want to have a say in their community and not just have it decided by a few.”