hill country observerThe independent newspaper of eastern New York, southwestern Vermont and the Berkshires


News October 2016





Here are the candidates and referendum questions on ballots for the Nov. 8 federal and state elections across the region. Because of space limitations, uncontested races are not included. A guide to political party abbreviations is at right. Incumbents are marked with an asterisk (*). Polls are open on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in Massachusetts, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. in New York and at least 10 a.m. (earlier in many locations) to 7 p.m. in Vermont. Voter registration deadlines are Oct. 19 in Massachusetts; Oct. 14 (by mail) or Oct. 15 (in person) in New York; and Nov. 2 in Vermont.




President AND Vice President
Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine (D)
Gary Johnson and William F. Weld (L)
Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka (GR)
Donald J. Trump and Michael R. Pence (R


U.S. REPRESENTATIVE -- 1st District
* Richard E. Neal (D)
Frederick O. Mayock (i)
Thomas T. Simmons (L)


(Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin & Hampden District)
Christine M. Canning (R)
Adam G. Hinds (D)

State representative
Third Berkshire District
* Tricia Farley-Bouvier (D)
Christopher J. Connell (i)


Ballot Propositions

Question 1 -- Casino gaming
A Yes vote allow the state Gaming Commission to license a second slot-machine gaming establishment in Massachusetts, thereby expanding the scope of the state’s five-year-old casino gaming law. The proposal is backed by a develop who wants to create a new slots parlor just outside Boston in Revere.


Question 2 -- Charter schools
A Yes vote would allow the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to approve up to 12 new charter schools -- or expanded enrollment in existing charter schools -- each year. The proposal specifies, however, that charter school enrollment could not exceed 1 percent of the state’s total public school enrollment.


Question 3 -- Treatment of farm animals
A Yes vote would prohibit the sale of eggs, veal or pork from farms that confine animals in spaces that are too small for them to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs or turn around freely. (For a detailed report on the proposal, see the August issue of the Observer.)


Question 4 -- Marijuana legalization
A Yes vote would allow anyone over 21 to possess, use or transfer marijuana and marijuana products -- and would provide for regulation and taxation of commercial sales of these products. (The proposal is discussed in detail in a story on page 4.)


With public opinion polls showing the Clinton-Kaine ticket with a wide lead in Massachusetts, and with no other statewide candidates up for election, the four ballot propositions could wind up being the most closely contested of this year’s election in Berkshire County.

There is a contest to succeed state Sen. Benjamin Downing, D-Pittsfield, who is stepping down after 10 years in office. Adam Hinds, who lives in Pittsfield and serves as director of the nonprofit Northern Berkshire Community Coalition in North Adams, defeated two other candidates -- Andrea Harrington and Rinald Del Gallo -- in last month’s Democratic primary, winning 54 percent of the vote.

Hinds now faces Republican candidate Christine Canning of Lanesborough, who runs an educational consulting business. The sprawling Senate district, the largest in Massachusetts, covers 52 towns and is heavily Democratic.

Only one of the four state representatives from Berkshire County is being challenged for re-election. In the Third Berkshire District, which covers most of Pittsfield, Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, in office since 2011, prevailed in last month’s Democratic primary with 54 percent of the vote over Michael Bloomberg, a cousin of the former New York City mayor with the same name. She now faces Christopher Connell, a Pittsfield city councilor who’s running as an independent.
In the U.S. House district that covers western Massachusetts, longtime Rep. Richard Neal, D-Springfield, faces two little-known challengers -- Thomas Simmons, a Greenfield Community College professor running as a Libertarian; and Frederick “Fritz” Mayock, a math teacher at the Children’s Study home in Springfield who has spoken out against casino gambling and high-speed rail.



President and Vice President
Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine (D, WE, WF)
Gary Johnson and Bill Weld (L, I)
Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka (G)
Donald J. Trump and Michael R. Pence (R, C)


Alex Merced (L)
Wendy Long (R, C, RF)
* Charles E. Schumer (D, I, WE, WF)
Robin Laverne Wilson (G)


U.S. REPRESENTATIVE -- 19th District
(11 counties including Columbia and most of Rensselaer)
Zephyr Teachout (D, WF)
John J. Faso (R, C, I, RF)


U.S. representative -- 20th District
(Albany, Schenectady, southern Saratoga and parts of Montgomery and Rensselaer counties)
Joe Vitollo (R, C, RF)
* Paul D. Tonko (D, I, WE, WF)


U.S. representative -- 21ST District
(all or part of 11 counties including Warren, Washington and northern Saratoga)
Mike Derrick (D, WF)
Matthew J. Funiciello (G)
* Elise M. Stefanik (R, C, I, RF)



43rd district (Columbia County and parts of Rensselaer, Saratoga and Washington counties)
Shaun P. Francis (D, WF)
* Kathleen A. Marchione (R, C, I, RF)
Joseph Levy (G)


44th district (parts of Albany and Rensselaer counties)
* Neil D. Breslin (D, I, WF)
Christopher Davis (R, C, RF)
Deyva Arthur (G)


45th district (Warren County, most of Washington and all or part of four other counties to the north)
* Elizabeth O’C. Little (R, C, I)
Stephen Matthew Ruzbacki (G)


49th district (Fulton, Hamilton and parts of Herkimer, Saratoga and Schenectady counties)
Chad Putnam (D, WE, WF)
James Tedisco (R, C, I, RF)

State Assembly


106th district (parts of Columbia and Dutchess counties)
* Didi Barrett (D, I, WF)
Terry Sullivan (R, C, RF)

112th district (parts of Saratoga and Schenectady)
Michael R. Godlewski (D, WE)
Mary Beth Walsh (R, C, I, RF)


113th district (parts of Saratoga and Washington)
Christopher H. Boyark (R, C, RF)
* Carrie Woerner (D, I)


114th district (Essex, Warren and parts of Saratoga and Washington counties)
Robin M. Barkenhagen (G)
* Daniel G. Stec (R, I, C, RF)


With the Clinton-Kaine ticket and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer far ahead in the polls, the hot races in New York this year are farther down the ballot.

One of the most closely watched races locally is for the open U.S. House seat in the 19th Congressional District, where Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook, is stepping down after three terms. Gibson’s political mentor, John Faso, a former minority leader of the state Assembly, is the Republican candidate to succeed him. But Faso faces a potentially strong opponent in Democrat Zephyr Teachout, a Fordham University law professor who came to prominence two years ago when she mounted an unexpectedly strong primary challenge to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Faso remains better known, having represented Columbia County in the Assembly for 15 years and also from running two losing statewide campaigns -- for state comptroller in 2002 and governor in 2006. Faso’s campaign has cast Teachout as a carpetbagger: She grew up in Vermont, works in New York City, and only became a resident of the 19th district last year, when she rented an apartment in Dutchess County.

But Teachout has made fighting corruption the focus of her politics as well as her academic work, and her campaign has cast Faso as too much of an insider to Albany, where he has worked as lobbyist for much of the time since he left his Assembly seat more than a decade ago.
Gibson was elected in 2010 in what was then a Republican-leaning district, but a judge dramatically reshaped the district lines after state legislative leaders couldn’t agree on how to redraw the state’s congressional map after the 2010 census. Although Gibson easily won re-election twice, the 19th district in its current configuration gives Democrats a slight edge in voter enrollment.

Another U.S. House seat that has the potential to become competitive is in the 21st district, where freshman Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, is seeking a second term. She faces two challengers: Democrat Mike Derrick, a retired U.S. Army colonel from Clinton County; and Green Party candidate Matt Funiciello, the owner of Rock Hill Bakehouse in Glens Falls, who garnered 11 percent of the vote in a three-way race for the same House seat two years ago.
The 21st district stretches from Washington and northern Saratoga counties to the Canadian border and west to Lake Ontario, taking in Plattsburgh and Watertown. The district leans Republican, and voter registration figures over the past two years have shown the GOP edge growing.

State legislative races in New York are rarely competitive, in part because of gerrymandering and also because of the power of incumbency. But there are a few in the region that could wind up being close.

In the 43rd Senate District, two-term Sen. Kathleen Marchione, R-Halfmoon, has been under fire for much of the past year over her handling for the water contamination crisis in Hoosick Falls, where the toxic industrial compound PFOA was found in high levels in the municipal water supply and in many private wells. At one point Marchione became known on Twitter as “#BenedictMarchione” after critics said she tried to gut her own bill to give landowners more time to sue polluters over water contamination. (She later reintroduced her original bill, which passed.) She also resisted calls for legislative hearings on the water crisis before finally hosting a hearing in late August.
Marchione is being challenged by Democrat Shaun Francis of Wilton, a labor union official and former minor-league baseball umpire. Francis has joined in criticizing the incumbent over the PFOA issue; in late August, his campaign put up a billboard near the Falls Diner in Hoosick Falls that read, “No thanks, Kathy. You’re Fired. Kathy Marchione Failed Hoosick Falls.”
Francis has also praised Marchione’s Republican predecessor, Roy McDonald, who lost to Marchione in a primary four years ago amid a backlash from social conservatives over McDonald’s vote in favor of same-sex marriage in 2013.

Among area Assembly races, one that could be close is in the 113th district, where Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, D-Round Lake, is seeking a second term. She faces a challenge from Republican Chris Boyark, a jewelry store manager who owns a bar in Malta. Boyark defeated Gerard Moser in last month’s Republican primary.


President and Vice President
Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine (D)
“Rocky” Roque De La Fuente and Michael Steinberg (i)
Gary Johnson and William F. Weld (L)
Gloria Estela Lariva and Eugene Puryear (LU)
Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka (G)
Donald J. Trump and Michael R. Pence (R)


Bill “Spaceman” Lee (LU) of Craftsbury
Sue Minter (D) of Waterbury
Phil Scott (R) of Berlin


Lieutenant governor
Randy Brock (R) of Swanton
Boots Wardinski (LU) of Newbury
David Zuckerman (P, D) of Hinesburg


Pete Diamondstone (LU) of Dummerston
Cris Ericson (M) of Chester
* Patrick Leahy (D) of Middlesex
Scott Milne (R) of Pomfret
Jerry Trudell (i) of Derby

U.S. Representative

Erica Clawson (LU) of Charleston
* Peter Welch (D) of Norwich


State treasurer
Murray Ngoima (LU) of Pomfret
* Beth Pearce (D, R) of Barre
Don Schramm (P) of Burlington


Secretary of state
* James C. Condos (D, R) of Montpelier
Mary Alice “Mal” Herbert (LU) of Putney


State auditor
Marina Brown (LU) of Charleston
Dan Feliciano (R) of Essex
* Doug Hoffer (D, P) of Burlington


Attorney general
Deborah “Deb” Bucknam (R) of Walden
T.J. Donovan (D) of South Burlington
Rosemarie Jackowski (LU) of Bennington

State Senate

Rutland District (three seats)
* Brian “BC” Collamore (R) of Rutland Town
* Peg Flory (R) of Pittsford
Scott Garren (D) of Shrewsbury
Cheryl Hooker (D) of Rutland City
Richard Lenchus (i) of Benson
* Kevin J. Mullin (R) of Rutland Town
Korrine C. Rodrigue (D) of Rutland Town

State House

Bennington District 1 (towns of Pownal and Woodford)
* Bill Botzow (D) of Pownal
James A. O’Connor (i) of Pownal

Bennington District 4 (two seats; towns of Arlington, Manchester, Sandgate and Sunderland)
* Steve Berry (D) of Manchester
* Cynthia Browning (D) of Arlington
Brian Keefe (R) of Manchester


Bennington-Rutland District (towns of Dorset, Landgrove, Peru, Danby, Mount Tabor)
John P. “Jack” Stannard (R) of Dorset
Linda Joy Sullivan (D) of Dorset


Rutland-Bennington District (Middletown Springs, Pawlet, Rupert, Wells and Tinmouth)
* Robin Chestnut-Tangerman (D, P) of Middletown Springs
Jonas Rosenthal (R) of Wells


Rutland District 2 (two seats; Clarendon, Proctor, Tinmouth, Wallingford and West Rutland)
Ron Boucher (R) of Wallingford
* Tom Burditt (R) of West Rutland
* Dave Potter (D) of Clarendon
Ted Schaft (L) of Proctor
Michael Stimpfel (D) of Clarendon

Rutland District 5-3 (city of Rutland)
Mary E. Howard (D)
John E. Mattison Jr. (R)

Rutland-Windsor District 2 (Ludlow, Mount Holly, Shrewsbury)
* Dennis J. Devereux (R) of Mount Holly
Logan Nicoll (D) of Ludlow


Windham-Bennington District (Readsboro, Searsburg, Stamford, Dover, Somerset, Wardsboro, Whitingham)
John Moran (D) of Wardsboro
* Laura Sibilia (i) of Dover


Many people around the country think of Vermont as the ultra-liberal state that gave us Bernie Sanders, but Republicans appear to be making a serious effort this year to reclaim the top job in Montpelier.
Gov. Peter Shumlin is stepping down after three terms, and the Republican campaigning to succeed him, Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, is a construction contractor and former stock car driver -- and a moderate with a track record of winning statewide elections. He easily fended off a primary challenger in August.
The Democratic candidate, Sue Minter, is a former state transportation secretary who prevailed in a more difficult three-way primary. She now must re-energize a Democratic base that has been somewhat dispirited in the year since Shumlin abandoned his much-touted effort to create a single-payer health insurance system in Vermont.
In a sign of Republican optimism about the race, the Republican Governors Association began spending heavily on television ads supporting Scott almost as soon as the August primary election was decided.
But much depends on the turnout in the presidential race, where Hillary Clinton is expected to carry the state easily. Some observers say GOP standard-bearer Donald Trump could have trouble garnering even 30 percent of the vote in Vermont -- a drubbing that could have serious consequences in down-ballot races.


-- Compiled by Fred Daley







C -- Conservative Party
D -- Democratic Party
G -- Green Party
GR -- Green-Rainbow Party
I -- Independence Party
i -- independent (no party)
L -- Libertarian Party

LU -- Liberty Union Party
M -- U.S. Marijuana Party
P -- Progressive Party
R -- Republican Party
RF -- Reform Party
WE -- Women’s Equality
WF -- Working Families Party