GERMANTOWN — Four candidates are competing for two seats on the town council Nov. 2.

Candidates completed a questionnaire with their background and views, and are presented in alphabetical order.

How long you have lived in the county: 8 years

Occupation: Real estate agent and freelance film editor

Party line on ballot: Democratic

College: Attended Bard College

What do you think is the top issue facing your community? What would you do to address this issue if elected?

Econonomic development — A local economy is the lifeblood of any town. My focus will be on supporting the update of local zoning laws and helping small, independent and locally owned businesses to thrive.

Climate change — I believe in science and expertise. Doing everything we can to combat climate change is fundamental to our agricultural community. I will support all the hard work our Climate Smart, solar, and waterfront committees are doing to bring Germantown into the 21st century.

Affordable housing — Our town is changing rapidly, and it needs a sensible strategy that supports economic opportunities for homeowners who live here, people who need an affordable place to live and the visitors who bring vitality to our town.

Communication — I’ll work to further open lines of communication with folks and keep you up to date on the work the board is doing through hosting town halls, creating an online community board, posting an annual report card and more.

Why do you think you will be a good trustee? What are you most proud of accomplishing if you hold office? If you are a newcomer, what are you looking forward to accomplishing if elected?

This past year has been tough on all of us. For me, it was the end of a demanding 20-year-long career. While it has been nerve-wracking embracing this change, I was excited for the opportunities that would be opened with a less demanding work schedule. Little did I know that life had other plans for me. In early December I checked in to the ER at Northern Dutchess Hospital with severe chest pain. There they determined I was having a heart attack and rushed me to the cath lab at Vassar Brothers Hospital in Poughkeepsie. Thanks to the amazing care received I made it through with no damage to my heart and a renewed sense of purpose. The first few months of recovery were the hardest. Early on there was a big snowstorm with over 2 feet of snow forecast. I posted to our local Facebook groups looking to hire someone to shovel us out, a task that I normally, though begrudgingly, took on myself, but that now doctor’s orders prevented me from doing so. A fellow Germantowner who knew my situation passed on my request to Germantown Volunteers. Within a day they had arranged for someone to come over to shovel us out. He wouldn’t take any money. It is hard to express how moved my wife and I were by this kindness. It is in this spirit that I want to run for town board. I may never be able to help someone in the way that I was helped by this town, but perhaps I can get close.

I am looking forward to building on the great work that the current board has done on communication and transparency. These are vital to a local government in order to properly serve all its residents. I think Germantown can be a place that can bring together everyone despite the divisiveness that has permeated our national conversation. Let’s build on the success of Yard Sale Day and the Winter Walk. Let’s continue the work of the Climate Smart Community’s committee and the Waterfront Advisory Committee in helping the town be a good environmental steward and keeping our waterfront accessible to all. I look forward to working with constituents – to hear their concerns and work with the board to address those concerns. I come from a family that believes in service and I look forward to the opportunity to do my part.

How long you have lived in the county: 13 years

Party line on ballot: Democratic

Previous elected offices: None

College: The School of the Art Institute of Chicago

What do you think is the top issue facing your community? What would you do to address this issue if elected?

One of the pressing issues facing Germantown is affordable housing and short-term rentals. If elected I will look for incentives and solutions to address these concerns. There is currently a committee working on the short-term rental issue, and they are close to offering a solution. My concern is with outside investors buying up housing stock and displacing families or current residents to create a short-term rental situation, funneling money out of the community, as well as creating a void within in the community. Auxiliary buildings belonging to full-time residents used for short-term rentals are another story.

Why do you think you will be a good councilwoman? If you are a newcomer, what are you looking forward to accomplishing if elected?

With 25 years as a practicing artist, I have collaborated with many people on many projects and have that experience to bring to the board, as well as finding creative ways to solve problems. I like to get things done. If elected I look forward to realizing what is already happening — with the work the Climate Smart Committee has put into action, the projects the parks and waterfront committees have been developing, and to support the upcoming rezoning process as a step towards realizing the comprehensive plan.

Family: Wife Jennifer Kukon, 39; son Brandon Shook, 17, daughter Anna Shook, 15, daughter Nora Kukon, 6, and daughter Mila Kukon, 3

How long you have lived in the county: Lifelong resident

Occupation: With my two brothers, we own and operate Kukon Brothers LLC, a 3,000-acre-plus agribusiness.

Are you an incumbent: Yes

Party line on ballot: Republican, Conservative

Previous elected offices: Town council, 4 years

What do you think is the top issue facing your community? What would you do to address this issue if elected?

I feel one of our top issues in our community is keeping Germantown affordable. As Germantown grows we need to make sure young families and our senior citizens can afford to be here. Everyone loves our small town, and for our small town to grow, everyone needs to be able to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Why do you think you will be a good councilman? What are you most proud of accomplishing if you hold office?

We have accomplished many things in my first four years. I enjoy working with our whole community and town board to do what’s right for the people. I will continue working for all people in a conservative approach.

Family: Wife, Katrina Sullivan; son, Porter Sullivan, 8

How long you have lived in the county: Lifelong resident

Occupation: Optician’s apprentice at Advanced Eyecare Solutions in Hudson

Are you an incumbent: Yes

Party line on ballot: Republican, Conservative

Previous elected offices: Germantown town board for four years

College: Columbia-Greene Community College

Military service: Eight years, Army National Guard

What do you think is the top issue facing your community?

What would you do to address this issue if elected?

Germantown, like most other towns in Columbia county, has grown drastically in the last year and a half. We need to keep Germantown affordable for future generations while meeting the needs of the current residents.

Why do you think you will be a good trustee?

I think this town board has worked hard to open the lines of communication from our residents to their officials. We need to be available to our residents and their needs.

What are you most proud of accomplishing if you hold office?

This board has been incredibly fiscally prudent and has held the line on taxes while ensuring our residents’ needs are continuously met.

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