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Saranac Lake Democrats choose candidates

Election for two trustees, one justice

Steve Erman, standing, endorses Paul Van Cott for trustee candidate in the March 20 village election during the Jan. 30 Saranac Lake Democratic Committee caucus at the Harrietstown Town Hall. Erman, now retired, had worked with Van Cott, an attorney, at the Adirondack Park Agency. Van Cott and Barbara Rice were chosen to run for the two open four-year seats on the Village Board. Van Cott is sitting at far right.

Steve Erman, standing, endorses Paul Van Cott for trustee candidate in the March 20 village election during the Jan. 30 Saranac Lake Democratic Committee caucus at the Harrietstown Town Hall. Erman, now retired, had worked with Van Cott, an attorney, at the Adirondack Park Agency. Van Cott and Barbara Rice were chosen to run for the two open four-year seats on the Village Board. Van Cott is sitting at far right. Photo by Andy Flynn.

— More than 30 members of the Saranac Lake Democratic Committee Monday, Jan. 30 chose two village trustee candidates for the spring election and endorsed one justice candidate across party lines.

Democrats unanimously approved the nominations of Paul Van Cott and Barbara Rice to run in the village election on March 20. They hope to fill the seats currently occupied by Republicans Jeff Branch and John McEneaney. They are four-year terms.

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Paul Van Cott

Rice, the owner of Rice Furniture, was on a business trip and could not make the caucus. Instead, a brief statement was read on her behalf:

“I am extremely excited and enthusiastic about running for Village Board,” she said. “As a downtown business owner and native Saranac Laker, I will offer a fresh and relevant perspective to the board. Thank you for giving me this opportunity.”

Van Cott has been an attorney for 25 years, including 11 years at the Adirondack Park Agency and time working for the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the state Attorney General’s Office. He hopes to bring new energy and strong skills to the Village Board while making Saranac Lake a better place to live, starting with good streets, safe sidewalks and clean water.

“There are great things happening in Saranac Lake, and I believe this is an important time to elect new Village Board members,” Van Cott said. “We have positive momentum and need the best possible Village Board to help build on it. That is why I am running for trustee now.”

Van Cott’s top priority is economic development.

“I bet you’d never hear that from an environmental lawyer,” he said. “Economic development is one of the keys to Saranac Lake’s future.”

Van Cott said he would work on behalf of the business community, naming Trudeau Institute, Adirondack Management Association, North Country Community College, Paul Smith’s College and the Saranac Lake Central School District as important economic institutions that help make Saranac Lake “unique among Adirondack communities.”

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