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Republicans nominate DeWitt Forbes for Massena race

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MASSENA - Voters will have a choice this November in the race for Massena village trustee.

The Massena Republicans unanimously nominated DeWitt G. Forbes, 60, to represent the party at their Tuesday night caucus. Mr. Forbes will challenge Trustees Francis J. Carvel, who is seeking his second term in office; and Albert C. “Herb” Deshaies, who has served on the board since 1995.

The Massena Democrats nominated both of those candidates at their caucus Monday night.

Mr. Forbes is a Brasher native and retired tractor-trailer driver who moved into the village in 2003. If elected, he wants to concentrate efforts on revitalizing downtown and making Massena a more business-friendly community.

“This area’s been dying off for years, and we need to put a stop to that,” Mr. Forbes said. “I’m very interested in the well being of this community.”

Mr. Forbes said he is still considering what he would do differently than the current village board. He would like the village government to hold the line on taxes, if possible.

“People are having a hard time right now,” he said. “There should be other avenues to raise revenue other than taxes.”

He said he already is involved as a Mason, Shriner, and in Toys-For Tots campaigns. He would like to extend his community involvement to service on the village board and hopes to foster more community spirit if he’s elected.

“If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem,” he said. “I’ve always been a problem solver.”

Public safety is another priority for Mr. Forbes, who serves on the village’s Neighborhood Watch. He wants to see the entire village work together to deter crime.

“Success is a team effort,” he said.

The Republicans recessed their Tuesday caucus instead of adjourning and plan to reconvene at 4 p.m. on Sept. 24.

Acting Massena Republican Committee Chairman Charles B. Romigh said he thought a second candidate would step forward to challenge Mr. Carvel and Mr. Deshaies. That candidate reconsidered shortly before Tuesday’s caucus, he said.

Mr. Romigh said the additional time will hopefully be enough for the Republicans to find one more candidate. Officials said they believed Sept. 27 was the deadline to submit nominees to St. Lawrence County Board of Elections.

“It’s fairly uncommon but it’s legal,” Mr. Romigh said of the recess.

Town Clerk Georgette Davis nominated retired Massena Fire Department Foreman and ex-St. Lawrence County Legislator R. Shawn Gray to take the other seat Tuesday night, but he declined.

Mr. Gray said the timing wasn’t right; he has been taking care of his mother in Helena and spending a lot of time outside the village.

He did quip, however, on how the Republicans could defeat the Democratic incumbents in November.

“You would publish the minutes of the village board meetings and say ‘Do exactly the opposite,’” he said.

All village board members with the exception of Mayor James F. Hidy are serving terms which they won in uncontested races. Mr. Carvel and Mr. Deshaies ran unopposed in 2008, while trustees Timothy J. Ahlfeld and Patricia K. “Trish” Wilson were uncontested in 2010. Mr. Hidy defeated Trustee Joseph A. Macaulay that same year.

Mr. Romigh was glad voters had a choice in the village races this fall.

“It’s better to take one position than to take none,” he said. “The main thing of any political party is to give voters a choice.”

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