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Cobleskill Race a Sharp Contrast Between Styles

Written By Editor on 10/10/13 | 10/10/13

For current Cobleskill Supervisor Tom Murray, his blunt attitude is an asset. His actions in office are still ongoing and in his own words continuing.

In 2009, Murray beat Town Councilwoman Linda Angell by the barest of margins-- a 50.3%-49.7% squeaker. In 2011, the margin increased against Councilman Ken Hotopp 56.5-43.5%.

Murray's second term has been a mixed bag with a smaller amount of controversy than the first. Mr. Murray's efforts to extend the Village of Cobleskill's water district along the Route 7 corridor has been a success, even as public opinion was not unanimous. However, another economic development plan pushed by the incumbent failed despite him having the most weighted votes on the County Board of Supervisors. Despite a plea from Mayor Mark Galasso and Mr. Murray the Butternuts Brewery second mortgage plan died after a narrow vote.

Murray's role in the contentious issues on the County Board of Supervisors have also left many confused. Mr. Murray currently caucuses with most of the Republicans in the chamber despite being a Democrat and has been involved in the see-sawing of committee appointments and seating changes. His de facto alliance with Jefferson Supervisor Dan Singletary on the issue of the $300,000 human resources report has drawn eyebrows but as of today no negative (or positive, for that matter) consequences.

Mr. Murray's economic development plan is similar to his past promises-- which have seen Cobleskill in similar economic shape as when he first took office after the 2009 elections. From his campaign site:
The former Guilford Building has remained vacant too long; the unemployment rate of Schoharie County is one of the highest in the State of New York. The Mayor and I along with our respective boards and County Planning Director Alicia Terry have made it our priority to getting the lights back on and bringing new life to the building, and badly needed employment to our community and all of Schoharie County.
Murray faces another local business owner, Leo McAllister. Mr. McAllister has much of the name recognition that is necessary for a race such as this, such as Mr. Murray has.

Even from the start, the demeanor shift is stark. Mr. McAllister cuts a much more quiet profile, thought preceding every measured word. His time on the Cobleskill-Richmondville School Board, Rotary, and Cobleskill's Planning Board have built an impressive resume, similar to the incumbent's.

Mr. McAllister's platform is similar to Murray's, as well. He hopes to take his professional expertise in accounting and use it on the Town of Cobleskill's budget. McAllister hopes to prevent tax increases, allowing a more business-friendly environment.

Personal animus is not a major factor in this race, either as the two have a remarkably friendly disposition towards each other. The two differ in how they have reacted to the race. Mr. McAllister seems like the community spirit of old-- his Rotary experience leading to a folksy, includive message. Meanwhile Mr. Murray's seriousness show a sense of political skill and a different era of retail politics.

Come November, only one will be Cobleskill's executive for the next two years.
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