WILLSBORO — Elise Stefanik, one of the two Republicans seeking to replace Bill Owens (D-Plattsburgh), received a boost of local momentum on Tuesday, May 13 when 14 of the 18 members of the Essex County Board of Supervisors offered their intentions of support.
The annoucement came after a private meeting with local officials at the Deer’s Head Inn in Elizabethtown on Monday, April 28.
“I am honored to receive the endorsement of these members on the Essex County Board of Supervisors,” said Stefanik in a written statement that listed the names of the endorsees. “I am incredibly humbled in their support of my candidacy.”
For many, the praise was effusive:
“Elise has great direction and some good focuses,” said Keene town supervisor William Ferebee (pictured above, center). “I’m thankful she was there.”
Moriah Town Supervisor Tom Scozzafava told the Valley News he was impressed with her background in small business. Her experience dealing with her counterparts across the district, he said, is something that offers her a firsthand look at the hardships that are facing families in the North Country, including many of his constituents.
“Her youth is an asset,” he said. “She’s never held prior office before, which would also be a good thing because she won’t be swayed by special interests.”
Shaun Gillilland, the supervisor of Stefanik’s adopted hometown of Willsboro, offered a full-throated endorsement, calling her an “extremely bright and energetic small businesswoman.”
“She has great ideas,” he said. “And she has the guts to go out and run.”
Gillilland said he admired Stefanik’s decision to go up against Owens last August before the two-term representative announced his retirement in January.
“It was like David and Goliath,” he said.
Citing the district’s depressing demographics, including the brain drain of 18-to-35-year-olds, Gillilland said the North Country should welcome all contributing voters and taxpayers who are willing to serve the district.