Columbia County Democrats have endorsed candidates for this year’s local elections.
The Columbia County Democratic Committee is out with four endorsements including Don Krapf, a 23-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office, for County Sheriff. Committee Chair Keith Kanaga:
"He is really well qualified to be sheriff given his decades in law enforcement, and also his vision for the future of law enforcement, his vision for taking the sheriff's department to another level in Columbia County."
Krapf says he is commited to changing the office to "meet the moment," and become more connected to the community it serves.
"I'm running for sheriff on a community centric based platform to improve the relationships within the community, the diverse community that Columbia County is, and to increase the emphasis on training, implicit bias, cultural sensitivity, sensitivity training."
Krapf also announced his choice for undersheriff, a woman of color.
"Jackie Salvatore, a retired New York State Trooper investigator and former director of the employee assistance program for the New York State Police. And I feel this is important because I think not only do we owe a large amount of emphasis, or we need to put a large amount of emphasis on our community, but also on our officers and their emotional health and well-being."
Krapf, a registered Republican, withdrew from the GOP party process so he would not have to compete in the primary. He believes the sheriff's office, even though it is an elected position, shouldn't be connected to political parties. David Bartlett, sheriff since 2013 and running for a third term, could not be reached for comment.
The CCDC also endorsed Judge Richard Koweek, who is running for re-election. Koweek was first elected to the County Court in 2011 for a 10-year term and is also an Acting Supreme Court Justice.
"Well, I'd like to recognize the fact that I think that I treat people fairly and humanely when they come before me. I recognize that the experience that they have while they may be one of several cases that I may have on my docket that day, is of vital importance to the people appear in front of me. So I try to treat them courteously and professionally, giving them a full hearing and listening. Not just speaking."
Koweek received his law degree from Albany Law School in 1978 and has been a practicing attorney for 32 years.
Two Ulster County attorneys were endorsed for the two Supreme Court positions on the ballot this year: David Gandin and Kevin Bryant. Bryant is Corporation Counsel for the City of Kingston, and Gandin is Principal Court Attorney for a Supreme Court Judge: Here's Gandin.
"I have been an attorney for 23 years I've worked for the state and federal court systems. I've been in private practice, and I was a public defender for seven years. My entire career has been in litigation, and I believe in public service, and the need for qualified judiciary. For the last eight years, I've worked for Supreme Court Justice Maria Rosa, as her personal court attorney. Based on this, and my trial experience, I know what it takes to be a good judge. A good judge needs to have intellectual capacity, intellectual curiosity, a strong work ethic and a commitment to recognizing the dignity and respect and humanity of all litigants who come before the court.”
Petitioning for candidates begins this week, with a March 25 deadline.