Trustee to retire, candidate named

ContributedFrom left, Democratic party candidates for village of Cooperstown Board of Trustees Cindy Falk and Hanna Bergene are joined by Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh at a party caucus Thursday, Jan. 21

Septuagenarians and octogenarians may still rule Washington, but in Cooperstown a generational passing of the torch took the next step Thursday, Jan. 21. 

The village Democratic Party nominated Cooperstown native Hanna Bergene to be a village trustee, as well as renominating Deputy Mayor Cindy Falk to a three-year term. 

There was no GOP caucus this year, so unless an independent candidate files to run for the position, Bergene and Falk will run unopposed for the two positions in the Tuesday, March 16, village election.

The first day to file independent petitions is Tuesday, Feb. 2, and the last day is Tuesday, Feb. 9. 

“I’m very excited. I’m ready to get to work,” Bergene told The Daily Star on Friday, Jan. 2. 

Bergene, 29, graduated from Cooperstown Central School in 2009; both her parents worked for the school, Susan as a teacher and Greg as a bus driver. She graduated from SUNY Oneonta in 2013 then worked at Stagecoach Coffee and for the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce before becoming social media manager for the Paperkite Creative in Cooperstown.

Bergene started working on the Cooperstown Winter Carnival’s volunteer staff in 2015 while working at the chamber. Two years later, she co-chaired the 50th anniversary carnival.  

“I am very involved in the wellbeing of Cooperstown,” she said. “I have always been very interested in community service. I just want to do everything I can to help Cooperstown come back after a very challenging year.”

Longtime village Trustee Jim Dean decided not to run for another term when he heard Bergene was interested in joining the board. 

“My thought was if no one showed up, I would run again,” Dean told The Daily Star on Friday. “I had known of Hanna from her work, including at Stagecoach and the chamber. She’s a local, young woman. What was exciting to me was her work, especially in digital media, was everything that Cooperstown needed in my view. 

“I think if we are going to recover from the coronavirus, then we are going to have to work to reinvent Cooperstown,” he continued. 

Dean, 80, said he is excited to see younger residents get involved in local government. Bergene’s mission to convince young people to settle in the area dovetails with his vision to reinvent the village, he said. 

“I had a good run, 10 years,” he said. “It was a great 10 years in the village of Cooperstown. So much of Cooperstown was rebuilt. And if you look, now, we might not have been able to do the things we did if we had waited. A lot of the grants, a lot of the money, might not be available going forward.”

Greg Klein, staff writer, can be reached at gklein@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7218.

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