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Saranac Lake trustee candidates square off in forum

Four make pitch for votes in March 20 election

Saranac Lake Village Board of Trustees candidates Mark Gillis, Paul Van Cott, Barbara Rice and Jeff Branch at the Meet the Candidates Forum at the Harrietstown Town Hall March 12.

Saranac Lake Village Board of Trustees candidates Mark Gillis, Paul Van Cott, Barbara Rice and Jeff Branch at the Meet the Candidates Forum at the Harrietstown Town Hall March 12. Photo by Daniel E. Alexander.

— Four candidates for two Saranac Lake village trustee positions explained their positions on a number of topics during a Meet the Candidates forum Monday, March 12 at the Harrietstown Town Hall.

Video

Debate for Saranac Lake Village Trustee

Watch video of the debate for Saranac Lake's Village trustee. Recorded on 3-12-2012

Watch video of the debate for Saranac Lake's Village trustee. Recorded on 3-12-2012

The forum — co-hosted by Denton Publications, the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and the Press-Republican — gave residents a chance to hear candidates’ answers on questions from a three-member panel and the audience.

Enterprise Staff Writer Chris Morris was the moderator and was joined by panelists Andy Flynn, assistant managing editor at Denton Publications; Peter Crowley, managing editor at the Adirondack Daily Enterprise; and Kim Smith Dedam, staff writer at the Press-Republican.

In the hot seats were candidates Jeff Branch (R), Mark Gillis (R), Barbara Rice (D), and Paul Van Cott (D). They will be vying for two, four-year trustee positions in the March 20 election. Each took turns answering questions at a podium in the Town Hall’s auditorium.

Opening remarks

Mark Gillis operates a brokerage firm on Academy Street in Saranac Lake. He grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Saranac Lake in the fall of 2011. After high school, he had a choice to make, to either go away to the big-name colleges or study locally.

“I stayed local,” Gillis said.

After graduating, he worked for a stock brokerage firm, where he learned how to read a balance sheet and income statement and how to dissect and put together a business plan.

“Most importantly, I learned how to evaluate cash flow projections and business projections,” Gillis said.

Paul Van Cott is an attorney for the Adirondack Park Agency in Ray Brook. He said this chance to serve Saranac Lake is “humbling.”

“I have three goals,” Van Cott said. “They are broad goals, but they are shared, I believe, by most Saranac Lakers: more jobs, less taxes and a better quality of life. That’s what we need to help Saranac Lake prosper, and that’s what we need so that our children can find jobs here and can afford to live here.”

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