Townline Motors banner

McHugh, Donnelly vie for town supervisor’s seat   


By Melanie Lekocevic

Capital Region Independent Media

COEYMANS — Two candidates are vying for the town’s top spot in the Nov. 7 election.

Incumbent Republican Town Supervisor George McHugh faces a challenge from Democratic candidate Stephen Donnelly for the town supervisor’s position. Candidates were asked to complete a questionnaire about their candidacy. Their responses are presented in alphabetical order.

Name: Stephen Donnelly

Age: 53

Family: I have a wife and four children.

Place of residence: Coeymans

How long you’ve lived in the town: Born and raised in the RCS district; purchased a home in Coeymans in 2018.

Occupation: Paralegal

Are you an incumbent: No

Party line on ballot: There are two: Coeymans Forward and Democratic

Previous elected office: N/A

College: Paralegal Associates degree; pursuing a B.S. in Psychology

Military service: N/A

What do you think is the top issue facing your community? What would you do to address this issue if elected?

The top issue facing our community is the lack of a full-time Town Supervisor; I intend to remedy this issue by providing the community with the proper attention and focus we need and deserve without the distraction and obligations of outside employment. Town supervisor is an eight hour per day, 40 hour per week job. I intend to do that work.

Why do you think you will be a good supervisor? If you currently hold office, what are you most proud of accomplishing? If you are a newcomer, what are you looking forward to accomplishing if elected?

As I stated, the job of Town Supervisor is a full-time job; this is due to the enormous amount of communication the job entails, addressing the variety of issues that occur daily requires returning emails, phone calls and speaking in person to not only the residents, but local municipalities as well as state and federal bureaucratic entities and elected officials. The goal of all this communication, for me, will be to centralize Town Hall and streamline traffic while supporting local business and attracting and encouraging new businesses. The Village of Ravena will be treated as the crown jewel of the Town of Coeymans by having a centralized and focused economy both in the public and private sector. These are basic, foundational issues that need to be addressed if the Town and Village are to prosper and grow. Without this fundamental structure, the Town and Village will simply function as ports of entry and departure with little to no growth of economy. All this has to be accomplished with no tax increase, a continued Coeymans police presence, highway and road management, parks and recreation, and attention to our youth and elderly, to name a few. There is a lot of work to do, and it cannot be overstated: a Town Supervisor, serving the town, is a full-time job.


Name: George D. McHugh

Age: 58

Family: My wife Rosemary McHugh; my sons George J. McHugh (33), Nicholas J. McHugh (19), Daniel J. Puckett (26), Michael J. Puckett (24); and my daughter, Megan A. McHugh (21); granddaughters Caroline McHugh (2) and Georgia McHugh (1).

Place of residence: Lawson Lake Road, town of Coeymans

How long you have lived in the town: I was born and raised in the Town of Coeymans, graduating from Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk High School in 1983.

Occupation:  Coeymans Town Supervisor. I am also a licensed attorney, currently serving as counsel to Albany County Sheriff Craig D. Apple, Sr.  

Are you an incumbent: Yes, I was first elected as Coeymans Town Supervisor in 1999, and served one term from 2000-2001, at which time I did not seek re-election. I was elected again as Coeymans Town Supervisor in 2019 and have served in this position from 2020 to present.

Party line on ballot: I am a registered Conservative and I am cross-endorsed by the Republican Party. As such, I am running on the Republican Line (Row B), as well as the Conservative Line (Row C).

Previous elected offices: Coeymans Town Supervisor – 2000 to 2001; Coeymans Town Supervisor – 2020 to present

College: After completing my undergraduate degree in Business Administration and Political Science, I graduated from Albany Law School with a Juris Doctorate degree, Class of 1997.

Military service: My military service started in August 1986, when I enlisted in the U.S. Army as a Private First Class. After graduating from boot camp at Fort Knox, Kentucky, as an Armor Crewman, I was given the opportunity to attend Officer Candidate School, where I graduated in 1988 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, Armor Officer. I served in various leadership positions at the ranks of Second Lieutenant, First Lieutenant, and Captain within the 210th Armor Battalion and the 42nd Infantry Division from 1988 to 2001. In 2001, I was direct commissioned in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG) at the rank of Major. From 2001 to 2009, I was assigned numerous leadership positions within the JAG Corps and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. In 2010, I was ordered to active military duty and assigned to the Pentagon, serving as Special Counsel and Acting Deputy Director of Legal Policy, Office of the Secretary of Defense through 2011. In 2012, I was ordered to the Middle East in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, where I served as the Brigade Judge Advocate of the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team through 2012. From 2013 to 2016, I was ordered back to the Pentagon and served in various leadership positions. I was certified as a Military Law Judge for the U.S. Army in 2013. In 2014, I was promoted to the rank of Colonel, and on top of my active-duty responsibilities in Washington, I also served as the Staff Judge Advocate of the 42nd Infantry Division, and subsequently as the New York State Staff Judge Advocate. In August 2017, I retired honorably from the U.S. Army at the rank of Colonel.         

What do you think is the top issue facing your community? What would you do to address this issue if elected?

Coeymans, like most towns, has many day-to-day issues that require attention. We have a mold issue with our current town hall building, as well as a space issue that will require attention. We also have a large amount of truck traffic on our local town roads, which we have been working to address since 2020.

However, if I had to choose the top issue facing Coeymans, I would say that it is the constant balancing act that we as a town board must do to balance smart economic development within our community while maintaining a high quality of life that attracts people to live, work and raise a family in our town.

Coeymans has positioned itself perfectly to be at the forefront of the offshore wind industry coming to New York. And with global companies offering hundreds of good paying jobs, and potentially over a billion dollars in new investment increasing our tax base and lowering our town tax even further, it is incumbent on the town board to strike the proper balance between these attractive economic development opportunities and the quality of life we have all grown to love and appreciate, which comes from living in a small town. This town board has done a good job striking the proper balance. I look forward to the challenges that lie ahead as we continue to strike the proper balance between economic development and quality of life in Coeymans.        

Why do you think you will be a good supervisor? If you currently hold office, what are you most proud of accomplishing?

The position of Town Supervisor is challenging and requires someone with leadership experience, governmental experience, fiscal and budgeting experience, and private sector experience. It is not a position that you can learn on the job. I believe that my experience of serving in various leadership positions during my 31-year career in the U.S. Army, together with my experience working for every level of government – federal, state, county and town, as a judge, and my experience as a lawyer in private practice over the last 26 years, uniquely qualifies me for the position of Town Supervisor.

As Town Supervisor over the last four years, I am most proud of the following accomplishments:

  • Collaborated with Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple to create a sheriff’s substation in Coeymans;
  • Increased transparency by upgrading our equipment and televising ALL town meetings;
  • Maintained the lowest town tax rate in over 25 years, with a 0% tax increase for 2024;
  • Increased the town’s fund balance reserves by 68% to nearly $5,000,000;
  • Promoted investment in the town and increased our taxable assessed value by 21%;
  • Received a perfect fiscal score from the state comptroller for the last three years;
  • Led our town through COVID-19 and provided vaccinations, tests, masks and sanitizer to all;
  • Acquired over $2,000,000 in federal and state funds for capital projects in Coeymans;
  • Invested over $2,000,000 in capital projects at Joralemon Park and Coeymans Landing Park;
  • Currently constructing permanent bathrooms in Joralemon Park and Coeymans Landing Park;
  • Expanded high-speed internet to rural areas in Coeymans Hollow and Alcove; and,
  • Overhauled the town ethics law to ensure transparency, proper accountability and oversight.

If re-elected, I look forward to continuing to work with the town board, employees and staff, and other elected officials at all levels of government to serve the residents of Coeymans, and to always strive to strike the proper balance so that Coeymans remains a great place to live, work and raise a family.   

Election Day will be Tuesday, Nov. 7. Questionnaires from the candidates for county legislator and town council member will be presented in the Oct. 26 issue of the Ravena News-Herald.

Related Posts