Franklin Dems nominate candidates; caucus creates stir

The town of Franklin Democratic Committee rolled out a cross-party ticket last week ahead of elections this fall.

Meanwhile, the caucus itself has created quite a stir in the small community.

Les Parker chairs the town's Democratic committee. In an interview with WNBZ late last week, he explained that this year's ticket features all incumbents, as well as both Democrats and Republicans.

The committee nominated incumbent Republican Supervisor Art Willman for reelection. Incumbents Al Berg and Cliff Smalley were nominated to run for a pair of town council seats, and Sandra Oliver was nominated to run for town clerk and tax collector.

Additionally, the committee nominated Jacques Demars to seek another term as superintendent of the town's Highway Department.

Parker says nominating Willman and other Republicans for supervisor was more about promoting good government than politics.

"All three of our incumbents felt like the town supervisor had done a good job, even though we had a pretty vigorous three years ago," he said. "They felt that they were all working together well as a time, the Republicans and Democrats alike. So we approached Art Willman, town supervisor, who is a Republican, about being on the Democratic ticket. He could potentially run unopposed. He agreed to that idea."

And while the field of candidates itself lacks controversy, some in attendance at last week's caucus have complained about how the meeting was run.

Callers on WNBZ's Talk of the Town say the meeting lacked openness and a chance for Democrats to submit nominations.

In a letter to the editor published in last Friday's edition of the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, Vermontville resident Janet Lyon went so far as to call the caucus a "farce."

Lyon wrote that the meeting was "confusing" for Democrats and "disrespectful" to residents of Franklin.

"I do not remember a caucus handled in the manner it was handled by Mr. Les Parker," Lyon told the newspaper. "The instructions were confusing, and in the end, the selected 'slate' was voted on and approved without the chance to nominate anyone."

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