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Massena mayor plans on competitive trustee races this fall

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MASSENA - Uncontested elections will be a thing of the past in Massena this fall, according to Mayor James F. Hidy.

Trustees Francis J. Carvel and Albert C. “Herb” Deshaies are both up for election this fall. Mr. Carvel was first elected to the board in 2008, while Mr. Deshaies has served since 1995. Both Democrats said they are still uncertain if they will pursue additional terms to office, but they are expected to seek re-election.

Regardless if they do, Mr. Hidy said there are four village residents who are considering running for office this fall and could be potential challengers. He declined to mention who they were, but said they could create Massena’s first contested municipal race since he ran for office and defeated Democratic Trustee Joseph A. Macaulay in 2010.

Mr. Hidy was a registered Democrat who ran as a Republican that year, which was not a particularly strong one for contested elections; Justice Eric Gustafson and trustees Patricia K. “Trish” Wilson and Timothy J. Ahlfeld ran unopposed in 2010.

Last year, candidates running for all four Massena offices - councilmen John F. Macaulay and Robert J. Cunningham, Justice James M. Crandall and Town Clerk Georgette Davis were nominated at their respective caucuses, ran unopposed and won.

But the 2012 local races should prove more exciting, Mr. Hidy said.

“The days of people running unopposed are coming to an end,” Mr. Hidy said.

Mr. Hidy said a couple of the individuals he was in discussion with are businesspeople. He also described the four as in their 30s and 40s.

“These are younger individuals who are in tune with today’s issues,” he said. “We’re at our crossroads right now. It can’t be business as usual. We’re out there right now making people aware of the issues.”

Mr. Hidy said a growing positive spirit in Massena was prompting more people to consider involvement in government.

“There certainly is interest because of the momentum and the positive way we’re moving forward,” he said.

Massena’s Democratic and Republican parties have not yet scheduled their caucuses with the St. Lawrence County Board of Elections. Candidates interested in running on an independent line can file petitions with the office between Aug. 14 and 21.

Mr. Carvel, completing his first term in office and a former foremen with the village’s Department of Public Works, said he had simply not yet made a decision yet, and did not have any comment on Mr. Hidy’s plan to make the race contested. Mr. Deshaies said he was about “60/40” or 70/30” toward seeking another four-year term.

Mr. Deshaies said he has enjoyed representing the people of Massena for the last 17 years and enjoys speaking his mind at village meetings. But he said it was still “too early in the ballgame” for him to commit to running for another term.

Mr. Deshaies said he was instrumental in the creation of an ice rink on Brighton Avenue and said the construction of the Massena Community Center was one of the village’s greatest accomplishments during his tenure on the board.

“I’ve got a lot of time to devote to it. I enjoy working for the village,” he said.

When asked about Mr. Hidy’s plan to make the race competitve, Mr. Deshaies said “bring it on” and that’s the way any political race should be.

“May the best man win,” he said. “Let the public decide who they want.”

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