'Vicious politics' drives candidate from Caz race

Blue Party candidate Gretchen Powell announced her withdrawal from the Cazenovia village trustee race, guaranteeing a position on the board for at least one of the two Democratic Party candidates.

"When I was asked to run for the village board a little over a month ago I was honored," said Powell in a statement read by League of Women Voters member Anne Redfern at the league's public debate June 9. "I thought I could be a voice for the working class and continue a family tradition at the same time."

According to Powell, she was surprised by reactions to her candidacy.

"What I didn't know was how vicious politics are in Cazenovia," she said. "First my petitions were attacked, and then I was personally attacked multiple times. I am not pointing any fingers at the candidates, but rather at their handlers."

Powell said that a person "representing the candidates" belittled her job and social status to a mutual friend. She also said that she became the victim of a "rotten" and "horrible fabrication" which eventually was heard by her children.

"That was all I could bear -- case closed, end of story," Powell said. "I am withdrawing from the race."

Powell said that her initial good feelings upon moving to Cazenovia have been replaced by concerns for the village's future.

"Is there any room in it for the common, working class people?" Powell said.

Powell's statement was read during a debate held by the League of Women Voters at the municipal building in the village of Cazenovia.

Democratic candidates Peggy Van Arnam and Amy Mann spoke at the event. While Blue Party candidate Kevin Velasco had planned to attend, illness prevented him from participating. His doctor advised him not to attend, he said.

"I have all the symptoms of the swine flu," said Velasco in a statement read by Redfern. "We will know for sure tomorrow."

Velasco wished good luck to debate participants.

Van Arnam and Mann were asked a series of questions from the audience by moderator Deborah Cornell of the Syracuse Metropolitan League of Women Voters.

The village election to fill two open trustee slots will be held a week after the June 9 LWV debate, from noon to 9 p.m. on June 16 at the American Legion Post 88 in Cazenovia.

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