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Esperance 2013 Interview: Miller vs. Van Wormer

Written By Editor on 10/30/13 | 10/30/13


Note: The original version of this article incorrectly stated that Mr. Van Wormer had "better things to do" if his bid for reelection failed. This was a mistake on behalf of the editor and has since been corrected to reflect Mr. Van Wormer's actual quote. 

Town of Esperance residents have a choice between two leaders in next Tuesday's election for supervisor: incumbent Supervisor Earl Van Wormer and Village of Esperance Mayor Steve Miller, both of whom recently discussed the upcoming election with the Schoharie News.

Background

Van Wormer - Mr. Van Wormer, who has served as Town Supervisor for twenty years, wears many hats including code enforcement officer, pest management and poultry judge to name a few, but he is most proud of the things he has "accomplished: not just on a town but also a county level."

Miller - Mr. Miller, who has served as Village Mayor for seven years, has owned Miller's BBQ Catering for thirty years in Esperance as well as an income tax firm for almost ten in nearby Duanesburg. He also served in the U.S. Navy for twelve years - four active, eight reserve.

Campaign

Van Wormer - Mr. Van Wormer admitted he "doesn't know" which way the voters of Esperance are leaning, but that he has been going door to door and was at the time of our interview planning a newsletter stating his case for reelection to the electorate, stating that "a lot of people don't know what's been accomplished in the Town of Esperance," and that his focus is to emphasize those accomplishments - including millions in grants received from New York State for not only flood recovery but town projects and future goals of flood mitigation in Fly Creek and continuing town road repairs.

Miller - Mr. Miller stated twice that town residents are "ready for a change" and that he will appear on the Democratic line despite initial attempts from Van Wormer supporters to block his nomination at their caucus. Mr. Miller is focusing heavily on his record as Village Mayor, which includes cosmetic enhancements to both the village hall and the local pavilion as well as an ambulance for the fire department. And stated that "the reason were successful in the village is because we work together."

County Level

Van Wormer - Mr. Van Wormer's record on the county level is extensive: serving as board chairman for nearly a decade, during which he fostered a decrease in county energy costs from nearly 17 cents per kilowatt hour when he was first elected chair to 6.24 cents today - with potential for that rate to fall to 5 cents in the near future. Mr. Van Wormer also gained fishing access for residents to the Schoharie Creek. His policies, if reelected, center around expanding broadband and cell access countywide and continued flood mitigation efforts.

Miller - Mr. Miller's record is Esperance-centric, but the candidate did have comments to offer concerning the board he hopes to sit on in January: declaring that "they are not working together," are "dysfunctional" and that he would "vote the best for my people." Mr. Miller, when asked if he would remain independent of the two leading factions on the county board, responded that he wasn't going there to "make friends," but to "do business."

The Report

Van Wormer - Mr. Van Wormer has been a strong advocate of the Fitzmaurice report from its origins almost twenty months ago and motioned for the first section's release last Thursday evening after four hours of executive session. Although concerned with the ballooning costs of the investigation, Mr. Van Wormer believes it was done for the right reasons.

Miller - Mr. Miller believes that it was "sad someone was given that amount of power," referring to Personnel Director Cassandra Ethington's implications in the report and that for her to run both departments was "done illegally." He also said that he would question County Attorney Michael West for not preventing her control of the Health Department.

Final Statement

Van Wormer - "If the people want me the next couple of years, I will do it. But if they think Steve Miller is the better man: I got other things I can do in this world." He concluded by saying that he does "all I can do to help everybody."

Miller - "Basically: if they vote for me they are going to get someone who's going to work for them," and his "financial background is strong," with years of public and private budgetary experience.
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