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January 31, 2013

Race for village seats may be uncontested

By JIM AUSTIN and GREG KLEIN, The Cooperstown Crier
Cooperstown Crier

---- — It appears for the second year in a row, the village will have uncontested races for three seats on the board of trustees in the annual March election.

During party caucuses Monday night, the Democrats nominated a full field of three candidates for the positions, but the Republicans were only able to cross-endorse Bruce Maxson, who will also appear as a Democratic candidate.

“We approached people, and we let it be known we were looking for people,” Republican caucus chairman Mike Trosset said. “The feedback I received was that because it has been so contentious lately, and this is such a small town, people were not interested in running.”

Last year, the Republicans didn’t nominate any candidates.

Maxson, 56, is a part-time public defender in the Otsego County Family Court division and has a private law practice. He is president of the Cooperstown Fire Department and was endorsed by all five of the Republican at the caucus. He is registered as an independent.

“He has excellent character,” said Republican Glenn Falk, who works with Maxson at the fire department and is the husband of trustee Cynthia Falk, who is not up for election this year. “I think he would be an awesome trustee, and I think he would do a great job for the village.”

The Republican caucus also heard from Lou Allstadt, a resident of 18 Main St. Allstadt, also an independent, was nominated by the Democratic caucus to run for an unexpired one-year term.

Although several members of the Republican caucus were willing to endorse Allstadt, he was not nominated by the caucus, which had already closed by the time he and Maxson arrived. Several Republicans said they would be open to nominating Allstadt in the future.

“I have only spoken to people about doing what we did during the caucus,” Trosset said. “I am not comfortable doing something I was not authorized to do.”

“I believe you earn the right to serve through your actions before you run,” Republican and former state Assemblyman Anthony Casale said. “Being president of Friends of 22 Main St., Lou has certainly shown that he is willing to serve the village. He will do a great job and I certainly endorse him.”

Allstadt, 69, was an executive for Mobile Oil in the 1990s. He is a graduate of the Merchant Marine Academy and served in the Navy during the Vietnam War. He has a Master of Business Administration degree from Columbia and is well-known in the area as an outspoken opponent of high-volume hydrofracking.

He said that he only recently decided to accept a nomination to run for the position, and would have liked to approach the Republican committee earlier for a cross-nomination.

Following his nomination by the more than two dozen Democrats at the caucus, Allstadt said that while working on the 22 Main St. committee he had witnessed what at times was “a somewhat non-functional board,” but has seen progress in the last two years. He said he is in tune with the current board and the direction in which it is moving.

Maxson said that what tipped the scale in his decision to seek a three-year term on the board was that he was likely to be cross-endorsed by the Republicans. He said he has been an independent and will remain so.

The Democratic caucus also nominated Cooperstown and Otsego County Democratic chairman Richard Abbate to run for the second three-year term on the board.

Before his nomination, Abbate said he had believed there was a third candidate for the board, but that person had decided not to seek election.

“There is no one here that accepted. I would love to run with a full ticket,” he said.

He was then nominated by Mayor Jeff Katz and endorsed by the Democrats.

Abbate, 53, said after the caucus he believed he still had 72 hours to find another candidate to fill the spot on the ballot, but if no one else accepts, he will run. Abbate ran unsuccessfully for the board in 2009.

He is retired and a resident of Westridge Road. He was an environmental protection investigator in New York City, a former business owner and was a Democratic state committeeman for 10 years.

“I think I can be an asset on the board,” he said.

The annual village election will be held on Tuesday, March 19.