By Jason Emerson
Candidate filing deadlines were last week in Madison County, and the final two candidates for Cazenovia Town Board have been set. In addition to Democrat Kristi Andersen, who was nominated by her party caucus two weeks ago, two Republicans have submitted petitions to run in the election: incumbent Councilor Pat Race and challenger Pat Vogl.
The three candidates will vie for two seats on the town board, each with a term of four years.
Incumbent Pat Race has served on the board for the past 12 years (three terms), being first elected in 2005. His liaison duties have been the same for basically all that time, focusing on the highway department, water districts and South Cemetery. He is also deputy supervisor.
Race said he is running for a fourth term not only because he enjoys the job, but also because the board has a lot of long-term commitments and projects currently ongoing, and he would like to see them through to the end. These issues and projects include town economic development and growth, continued focus on lake health and continuing the highway department’s successful equipment program (to keep the motor vehicle fleet new and updated) and general high service at lower costs.
“I enjoy doing it; I enjoy giving back to the community,” Race said of being a councilor. “And I feel that if you have an opinion you should do something about it.”
Race, who is a lifelong Cazenovia resident, raised his two children here with his wife of 25 years, Beth.
Race is a Cazenovia High School graduate, with a bachelor’s degree in political science and business from Curry College in Massachusetts. He has worked with the Suit-Kote Corporation for the past 20 years, currently as manager for Eastern sales. Suit-Kote is a privately owned asphalt products manufacturer, road construction, maintenance and asphalt applications engineering company.
Race said he believes he brings the homegrown perspective to the board – being a lifelong resident with roots in Cazenovia back to the 1930s – and represents that established constituency.
“I bring a perspective to the board that a lot of people don’t have, being born and raised here,” he said. “I’ve seen the different stages of this community – at one time you didn’t need to leave town to buy anything you needed. I’d like to see that self-sufficiency brought back.”
The candidate challenging the two incumbents for their seats on the town board is former Board of Education President Pat Vogl.
Vogl has been married to his wife Laura for 34 years, and they raised their three children in Cazenovia. He has a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Plattsburgh, a master’s degree in audiology from the University at Buffalo and an MBA from Syracuse University. He has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for the past 28 years, and for the past 18 years has been with Bristol Myers in sales in the oncology division.
Vogl has been a Pop Warner football and youth baseball coach, served on the board of the Cazenovia Athletic Association, including four years as treasurer, and is currently on the board of the Friends of Lorenzo.
He served on the Cazenovia Board of Education for 11 years – from 2004 to 2015 – including serving five years as board president. During those years, Vogl said he dealt with many major issues and projects, including fighting the district’s fiscal distress caused by the state’s Gap Elimination Adjustment, and finding ways to maximize the district’s efficiencies without losing any programs, educational opportunities for kids or staff while also keeping taxes as low as possible. During his board service he also participated in numerous building projects needed to update the district infrastructure and the hiring of a new superintendent.
“I’m running because I believe that every organization has to turn over in a systematic way to get fresh eyes, fresh excitement, and bring in different experiences. That is the main reason I left the school board: After 11 years on there, I think you get stale, so it was time for someone else to come in,” Vogl said. “I don’t believe raising taxes is the answer to any problem. I think problems can be solved by looking at them, objectively analyzing them, asking the right questions, bringing the right people together and then working together as a team to solve the problem.”
All three candidates for Cazenovia Town Board – Andersen, Race and Vogl – will participate in a candidate forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of Cazenovia on Oct. 19 in the library, where they will answer questions submitted by the audience concerning issues facing the town of Cazenovia.
Candidate profiles, and their answers to specific issues facing the town, will also be published in the Cazenovia Republican next month.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.