By Matt Youngfrau
MONTICELLO November 2, 2001 When the Sullivan County Legislature was first formed in 1995, Republican Steven Kurlander was elected to represent District 9, which includes much of Monticello and the eastern and southern portions of the Town of Thompson.
Kurlander resigned his post earlier this year, so the Legislature appointed Sean Rieber to take his seat. On Tuesday, November 6, voters will pick who will fill the term for the remaining two years.
In September, Jim Carnell beat Pat Croissant to get the Republican endorsement, while Sam Wohl beat Rieber for the Democratic endorsement. Also on the ticket will be Jesse York (Green Party) and Al Etkin (Loyalty Party).
Sam Wohl, the Democrat
"I care about the county," Wohl commented. "I'm not a politician, I'm a businessman. The government should be run as a business."
"Sam is the kind of person we should have as a legislator," remarked Sullivan County Democratic Party Chair Bob Krutman. "He has spent his entire life as a businessman. He is very level-headed."
Wohl is a lifelong resident of Sullivan County. He graduated from Sullivan County Community College and works in the familys wholesale distribution center. Wohl is married and has three children and two grandchildren.
Wohl has kept his eye on the economic development in the county, and he feels the completion of such projects as the Emerald Corporate Park and Kohl's Distribution Center will lead to increased employment opportunities. He also believes there will be a great deal of growth because of gambling.
"The days of minimum wage are over," Wohl stated. "I am aware of the challenges that face the county with this growth and, as a legislator, will keep the concerns of my constituents a top priority."
Jim Carnell, the Republican
Town of Thompson Code Enforcement Officer Jim Carnell checked with the state Attorney General over a possible conflict between the two positions, but he said he was told there would be no legal problem. Thompson officials have asked Carnell to stay on board, and he will reduce his schedule to attend Legislative meetings. If it gets too complicated, Carnell says, he will quit his job at Thompson.
"I do not see a problem, time-wise," Carnell said. "Other legislators have full-time jobs. I am very optimistic."
"Jim is young and bright," remarked Sullivan County Republican Party Chair Greg Goldstein. "He knows the issues. I am happy he stepped up. Jim will separate the two jobs and not do favors for people."
Carnell has lived in the county for over 25 years. He resides in Rock Hill with his wife and two children. Besides being Code Enforcement Officer, he has been an active participant at the Town Board, Zoning Board, and Planning Board meetings.
Carnell also sees tremendous growth opportunities for Sullivan County, saying the key to the future lies in such projects as casino gaming, the Emerald Corporate Park, the Concord, and the Bethel Performing Arts Center.
"My working life has been inspecting, overseeing and approving construction projects from highways, bridges, shopping malls, sewer plants, water plants, and corporate parks to homes and small additions," Carnell commented. "I know good construction practice, and I would see to it that the county receives quality building projects for our tax dollars."
Jesse York of the Green Party
Green Party Candidate Jesse York has long been involved in community service. York is married with nine children. He earned his human services degree at SCCC and has been a youth advocate and social worker for many years. York is a Vietnam veteran and has had his battles with drugs, alcohol, and the law. He feels this puts him in the right spot to be elected.
"We need to bring the community together," York stated. "The 9th district covers a large population of blacks, whites, and latinos. It is a well-rounded group, and I would be a good representative of that group."
"Jesse is a true representative of that district," Sullivan County Green Party Chair Jeryl Abramson said. "He speaks to the people who live there. Jesse has done a lot of wonderful things for his community. He brings a lot of good things."
York is focused on the youth of the community. He would also like to see light industry come into the area, and being a veteran, he is concerned with veterans' issues. York, however, is more concerned with the people than the major economic development projects coming in.
"I want to make Sullivan County the best it can be," commented York. "I will do what the people want. I've been around the world. I've been on both sides of the fence. I can help the people."
Al Etkin of the Loyalty Party
The other candidate for District 9 is the Loyalty Partys Al Etkin. Etkin, after fighting a long legal battle, was put back on the ballot recently.
Etkin is married with two children and six grandchildren. He earned a BA degree from New York University in 1953. Etkin is a Korean War veteran and served as Director for the Sullivan County Veterans Service Agency for six years. He also has been very active in senior groups like RSVP.
"I want to make a difference," remarked Etkin. "I want to represent my constituency and the county. I will be fair and equitable."
Etkin supports landfill expansion and such projects as the Performing Arts Center, the Emerald Corporate Park, and Kohl's. He is also for gaming and would like to see more small businesses, in addition to the county becoming a bedroom community.
But, hes alright with whatever choice is made by voters.
"The will of the people will prevail," Etkin said. "They will choose the best person. That is democracy. I can live with that."
"He is using his own money for his campaign," Etkin's campaign manager and son Phil commented. "He is doing all his own legwork. He wants to serve the public. This is how bad he wants it."
Election day is Tuesday, November 6. Polls are open from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m.