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Race Is On For Open Town Of Plattsburgh Supervisor Seat

Extended conversation with Republican Vasso LaForest

Extended conversation with Democrat Michael Cashman

One of the most high-profile races in New York’s Clinton County heading into election day is the contest for Town of Plattsburgh Supervisor.  With the incumbent retiring, WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley looks at the Democrat and Republican seeking the job.
Town of Plattsburgh Supervisor, Democrat Bernie Bassett, has held that post for nearly a decade.  But he announced in April that he would not seek reelection and would retire.  Democrat Michael Cashman and Republican Vasso LaForest are seeking the open seat.

LaForest, also running on the Reform line, is a CPA and real estate broker who serves on the town zoning board.  He has lived and invested in the town for more than 30 years and says he has a well rounded background to bring to the supervisor’s office.   “My professional experience  as well as my personal experience in the town gives me probably a much better global perspective on many issues with people in the town.  It’s not only have I been a resident, so I feel the burden of the taxes and so forth, but also I’m a CPA and a real estate broker.  I’ve opened businesses in the town and so forth. And so from that standpoint I guess as a supervisor it gives me a much better understanding how do we help the people, the residents and the businesses in town to help grow their business or do business in our town.”

As an accountant, one of the things LaForest is looking at is the town’s finances.   “I’ve looked over the, gosh,  probably the last seven, eight years of the financials in the town and there’s certainly been added expenditures that some people may think are not prudent or maybe not really not being scrutinized enough because we haven’t really embarked in any new infrastructures in over 8 years.  But yet the spending has been the same if not increased over that eight or nine year period.  So that would be a concern to me as I look at the finances and so forth.”

Cashman, the Democrat in the race, also appears on the Independence, Working Families and Women’s Equality lines. He came to Plattsburgh as a student at the SUNY college 16 years ago.  He and his wife not only stayed but integrated themselves into the community.   “I have governmental experience as a council member.  I have experience on the zoning board of appeals. I’ve been on a number of committees.  I’ve been involved with a number of civic organizations.  So that part of it I believe gives me the experience to help move the town forward.  The other part to it is someone that has a degree in counseling I believe you have to listen before you can lead.  And people in this town want to feel as though that their thoughts and opinions matter and are part of the process of moving us forward.  So I can leverage my experience, my degrees, to making that happen.”

While much of the supervisor’s job deals with financial matters, Cashman finds it’s a multi-pronged position that he is well suited to handle.   “The budget is only one facet of this position.  What isn’t being talked about necessarily is the role of the supervisor in addition to kind-of watching the purse of the town is to supervise all of the employees, to work in partnership with other agencies to help promote the Town of Plattsburgh.  To make sure that we’re bringing in new businesses and leveraging our municipality as a regional player to make sure that we can have a strong sales tax, that there’s a strong quality of life for our residents and that people continue to see Plattsburgh as a place that they want to be, come, visit, work, play and live.”

Laforest campaign website:www.electvasso.com

Cashman campaign website: www.michaelcashmanforplattsburgh.com