Town races in Farmersville and Freedom are taking shape around candidates’ thoughts on a local wind farm project in both primary elections in June and the November election.
Both towns are part of the proposed Alle-Catt Wind Farm, with more than 100 wind turbines – almost 600 feet tall – that stretches across 20,000 acres in three counties.
In Farmersville, Supervisor Robert Karcher, a wind power supporter, is being challenged in a Republican primary by Peter Lounsbury, who also has the Conservative and Independence Party lines.
Lounsbury is anti-wind farm, and formerly vice president of Freedom United, the group of town residents who are opposed to the current size and setbacks of the Invenergy wind farm.
“We need a good, protective (wind) law,” he said. Lounsbury said he stepped down as Farmersville United vice president “because I didn’t want to be seen as representing only part of the town.”
Highway Superintendent Barry D. Tingue faces a Republican primary against James Karaszewski. Tingue also has the Democratic line.
There are two candidates for two town board vacancies, incumbent Richard Westfall on the Republican line, and Mark Heberling, the Farmersville United president who is running on the Republican, Conservative and Independence Party lines. The seats are currently held by Westfall and Richard Zink.
Westfall has a wind lease with Invenergy and there were calls for him to recuse himself from voting on a wind law.
There is a third Town Board vacancy to fill following the recent resignation of A.J. Warner. Donna Vickman, the Cattaraugus County Legislature majority leader is unopposed in seeking the seat on the Republican, Conservative and Independence lines.
Town Clerk Bridgett Holmes is seeking re-election to a four-year term on the Republican, Conservative and Independence Party lines.
In Freedom, there are two candidates to succeed Brenda Schmidt as town clerk. They are Mindy Holland, a Republican running on the Democrat, Conservative and Independence Party lines, and Republican Jennifer Lynn Daugherty.
Five people – four Republicans and one Democrat – are running for two seats on the Freedom Town Board.
The four Republicans will vie in a four-way primary for two seats on June 25. They are: Ronald Ashworth, Raymond Feness, John Hill and Geoffrey Milks. Hill and Milks also filed Conservative and Independence Party petitions for councilman.
The Democratic candidate for councilman is Brian Arnold.
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