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In Ghent, five pursue two slots on Town Board


GHENT—The race for a four-year term as town justice is uncontested here, as voters choose two of two: Mark S. Portin and Michael N. Bruno, both running for a four-year term with Democratic, Republican and Conservative endorsements.

There is no race for supervisor in this year’s General Election.

But five candidates are vying for two Town Board seats: Patti Matheney and Koethi Zan on the Democratic line, Mark Huston and incumbent Peter Nelson Sr. on the Republican line, and incumbent Richard W. Sardo on the Conservative line. The term is four years.

Mark Huston, 55, has lived in the area for most of his life, and in Ghent since 1989. He is a graduate of Chatham High School and DeVry Technical Institute. He served in the US Marine Corps for four years. A network engineer, he has worked for NYS ITS for six years. He and his wife, Debbie, have one daughter, aged 16.

Mr. Huston is a member of Rock Solid Church and the Ghent Sportsman’s Association.

In his candidate statement, Mr. Huston cited several issues: “Meeting the town’s needs without raising taxes, so that lower and middle class people can live, work and retire there; keeping zoning code costs manageable and getting the zoning code in line with the comprehensive plan.”

Mr. Huston, who chairs the Zoning Board of Appeals, also serves on the Zoning Revision Committee, which has been meeting twice a month since June 17. “Our work will be done and presented to the town board by year’s end,” wrote Mr. Huston.

In addition he cited as issues “keeping government small,” and the proposed “power lines—NYSEG should not be allowed to force this on Ghent.”

“As I grew up here, stayed here and raised my family here, I am concerned about what my fellow residents think of me,” Mr. Huston wrote. “It is important for any Town Board member to have a have lifelong connection to the community.”

Patti Matheney, 57, holds a BS degree from North Carolina State University and has been self-employed, as president of her own advertising consulting business, for 30 years. She is married to Michael Schrom.

Ms. Matheny is the founder of the community group GhentCANN, chairman of the Columbia Memorial Hospital Foundation and a member of the Board of Trustees of Columbia Memorial Hospital. Assembly Member Didi Barrett (D-106th) has endorsed Ms. Matheney’s candidacy.

Ms. Matheney is running on a platform with Ms. Zan. In her candidate statement, she wrote, “If elected, Koethi Zan and I will ensure that the zoning code is timely updated to accurately reflect the comprehensive plan adopted by the citizens of Ghent in 2009. In the comprehensive plan, the people of Ghent set forth their vision for the town, and now our laws must reflect that vision.”

She and Ms. Zan, she continued, “will also look for new sources of funding, such as state grants, to benefit the Town of Ghent for projects such as recreational resources, green energy initiatives, local government training and the improvement of roads. The funding is out there, and we will do the work to get those funds for Ghent.

“We will also closely monitor Ghent’s budgets taxes, and spending,” she continued, “and support job growth in Ghent by working to attract businesses that provide quality employment opportunities. In particular, we will promote local farms, tourism and culture, the area’s strongest economic drivers.

Peter Nelson Sr., 72, seeks a third four-year term on the board. He works for Clifford Nelson & Sons, Inc., and is also a commercial pilot. In addition to high school, Mr. Nelson attended Hudson Valley Community College. He has two grown children. Mr. Nelson did not provide a statement to The Columbia Paper.

Richard W. Sardo, 58, seeks a second term on the board. After Election Day, November 3, his party enrollment will change from Republican to Conservative. Congressman Chris Gibson (R- 19) has endorsed his candidacy.

Mr. Sardo was born in Flushing and raised in Wappingers Falls, graduating from Roy C. Ketcham High School. He has a BS from San Diego State University and an AAS from Hudson Valley Community College. He is a professional land surveyor, licensed in New York State. He works for A. Colarusso & Son, Inc.

Mr. Sardo and his wife, Elizabeth, have two grown children. He was part of Chatham Little League and the Columbia-Greene Umpires Association.

In his candidate statement, Mr. Sardo wrote, “I am most proud of my four-year record of accomplishment, my perfect attendance record at Town Board meetings, my input on contract negotiations requiring town employees to pay for a portion of their health insurance costs and my vote on the power line issue that supported the upgrade of the existing 34.5 kV lines, although the existing upgrade line will run through my backyard. It was what was best for the town.”

He also cited his “‘No’ vote on the Commercial Development Moratorium and protecting property rights, and staying true to my oath of office to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the State of New York.”

“If elected,” Mr. Sardo wrote, “this would be my last term as a Town Board member. I believe eight years is long enough for any person to serve in any elected office.”

Koethi Zan, 43, holds a BS from Birmingham-Southern College and a law degree from Yale University. She has worked as an attorney and as a writer, specifically, a novelist.

Ms. Zan is executive director of the citizens’ group Protect Ghent, and is a board member of the Columbia Memorial Hospital Foundation and of Omi International Arts Center in Ghent.

She and her husband, Stephen Metcalf, have two daughters, ages 9 and 12.

Ms. Zan’s candidate statement is the same as Ms. Matheney’s, and Assembly Member Barrett has also endorsed Ms. Zan.






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