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Candidates offer their views in Benton

    BENTON—Primary Day is Tuesday, Sept. 13. Yates County candidates in this year’s Primary participated in a meet the candidate program at the Benton Town Hall Thursday, Aug. 25. One countywide office and several town offices were represented. The event was sponsored by the Finger Lakes Tea Party.
    After outlining their backgrounds, participants fielded a number of questions from program moderator Patrick Galvin.
    Ron Spike has been Yates County Sheriff for 20 years. He said being sheriff is his life’s passion. Ken Kamholtz joined the sheriff’s department in 1992. He said his experience in the military has given him the ability to be sheriff. During the question period, Spike said the proposed two percent tax cap does not deal with state mandates. Spike said 80 percent of the county budget is to pay for state mandates. Kamholtz said he favors a zero-based budget to manage what is coming down the road.
    The two candidates for sheriff also talked about the budget variances of the sheriff’s dpeartment. A local website had reportedly shown Spike’s department experiencing a double-digit increase in operating numbers. Spike said this was not correct. The internet site published a correction following the meeting.
    Kamholtz said faithfulness and loyalty will not save one penny. Spike said he has tried to run his department as efficiently and economically as possible.
    Two individuals spoke about their interest in serving as Highway Superintendent in Torrey: former Dresden Mayor Tim Chambers and current town highway employee Jeff Fingar. Chambers he would bring said 33 years experience working for NYSEG to the post. Serving as Dresden mayor for 12 years also helped prepare him for the post. Fingar has worked for Torrey highway department for nine years. Fingar said during that time he has built roads.
    Ron Kenville and current Town of Jerusalem Supervisor Daryl Jones are opponents for the post of town supervisor. Kenville said he served as supervisor in the town of Wheatland. Jones was unable to attend the program. In a statement read by Galvin, Jones cited his service on town council since 1998. He has been town supervisor since 2004.
Also in Jerusalem, three individuals are vying for a position on the ballot for a seat on town council. Mike Steppe told the audience he has worked in the corporate world for most of his career. Since moving to Jerusalem full time in 2004, he has served on various town committees. Patrick Killen said he volunteers in the community. Killen has worked for the Yates County Sheriff’s Department for 21 years. He has been an investigator for the past four years. Robert Evans was unable to attend the program.
    Debra Hoff-Tober is running for town justice in Potter. She is retired from the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department. Hoff-Tober said she has dealt with a lot of people and knows the role of the court. Her opponent for the primary is Paul Moberg.
Galvin posed several questions to the panel of candidates in random order. The first question was why the person is running for office. Fingar said it is because he would like to better his position. After quipping, “I need a job,” Chambers said he believes he can do a good job and has experience.
    Kenville said he feels voting is one of the greatest freedoms, adding, “What good is it without competition?”
    Killen said he has always been interested in local qualities and the community. Steppe said he has immersed himself in the community. He stated consensus building is needed in Jerusalem.
    Kamholtz said he started his public service young. Kamholtz said he has training and experience. Spike said he feels he has the public trust. Spike said he tries to do the best job he can about public safety as efficiently as possible.
    Hoff-Tober told the audience the position presented itself.
    Another question asked was one area or task candidates would change to cut spending.
    Primary elections take place prior to general elections. The names of these contests appear on their political party’s line on the ballot. Many hopefuls are also listed on other lines on the ballot.




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