Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Other Citywide Race in Hudson

The voters of Hudson have had several opportunities to hear from the mayoral candidates: on the radio, in the debate on October 14, and at last night's debate. We haven't, however, heard--not in a public forum, at least--from the two candidates who are running for Common Council president, a position that is just as important and has the potential to be just as influential as that of mayor. With that in mind, Gossips invited the two candidates, Claudia DeStefano and Tom DePietro, to submit a statement of what each of them would most like to communicate to voters in the days before the election. Both candidates accepted the invitation, and their statements follow.


I was born and raised in Elmont, NY (Nassau County).

I moved to Columbia County in 1990 and to Hudson in 1993.

At the time, my husband, James DeStefano, owned rental properties in Hudson and Kinderhook. Together we managed (85) apartment and commercial units.

Since 1994, I have worked as an election inspector here in Columbia County, and since 2008, I have worked as an election inspector for the Hudson City School District.
In 2007, my husband passed away from cancer.

Since 2008, I have been employed by Saint James Church in Chatham.

In 2009, I was appointed by then Mayor Richard Scalera to the Hudson Planning Commission and have since been re-appointed two times by Mayor William Hallenbeck to the now named Hudson Planning Board.

During my campaign for Hudson Common Council President, I have made a point of speaking to Police Chief Edward Moore, Department of Public Works Superintendent Robert Perry, Fire Chief Rodney Schermerhorn, and employees of the City of Hudson about issues and concerns that each department faces. If elected, I will continue to ask questions of these people and residents involved in decisions that need to be made by the Common Council.

My family and friends know that I do not make “spontaneous decisions.” If I don’t understand something important, I ask questions of those with knowledge, listen to their responses, ponder what I am told, and then make what I feel is the RIGHT decision. I will continue this practice if I am elected Common Council President.

The resurgence of Hudson since I moved to Columbia County has been amazing. I am hopeful that Hudson will continue to prosper with leadership that cares deeply and acts wisely. Doing what is RIGHT for all residents and knowing what is WRONG for all. RIGHT and WRONG…this is my “mission.”

In closing, I would ask for your support but most importantly, please vote.



Politics on the local level requires an equal amount of empathy and problem-solving, both of which lead to civil discourse and consensus. A small city like ours demands dialogue, good faith, and an openness to whatever works for as many constituents as possible.

I decided to run for office in Hudson after I became a radio interviewer some years ago at our local community station, WGXC, where I had the good fortune to interview Mayor Hallenbeck, Police Chief Moore, Council President Moore, former City Attorney Cheryl Roberts, Alderwoman Alexis Keith, and so many others. Early on, I began attending meetings of the City Council and some of the committee meetings as well. At some point, I realized that I could contribute meaningfully to the challenging process I was witnessing. Most of all, I want to help the Common Council move beyond the acrimony and distrust that have thwarted constructive solutions.

I am fortunate to have the necessary time to devote to doing the job properly. This means that I will not only prepare thoroughly on all issues, but I will reach out to those who know the history involved, to those with expertise, and to those who simply want to be heard.

In short, I want to hear what you have to say. Like the best old-school politicians of this great city, my door will be open and my pen poised to take notes.

You can read more about my views on issues that concern all of Hudson on my Facebook page, "Tom DePietro for CommonCouncil President." And remember: although Victor Mendolia's name appears on the ballot, he has withdrawn from the race. You can find me on line I, the "All-Hudson Party," a name I chose because I intend to leave no neighborhood behind.

DeStefano has been endorsed by the Republican, Conservative, and Independence parties. Her name appears on the ballot three times: on Row B, Row C, and Row F.

DePietro, who was endorsed by the Democrats after Victor Mendolia withdrew from the race, is running on his own independent party line, the "All-Hudson Party." His name appears on the ballot just once: on Row I.

Victor Mendolia, who was originally endorsed by the Democratic and Working Families parties has withdrawn from the race. His name, however, still appears twice on the ballot, on Row A and Row E. (These spots have been filled with gray on the detail of a sample ballot at right. Be aware that his name will not be grayed out the ballot you receive on Tuesday.)


  1. Carole, you have simply excelled during this political season, an invaluable fourth estate contribution to public life.


    1. Absolutely agree with Don. Thank you Carole for your thoughtful and clear reporting. An invaluable service indeed!

  2. Right and wrong are welcome words, but a good deal of a council president's power takes place in the gray in-between.

    Solutions to intractable problems - even of the smallest variety - invariably come down to the president's decision.

    What's been missing for years isn't so much knowing right from wrong (though that's always welcome), but good faith.

    When this city begins to operate in good faith, everyone will know right from wrong as soon as they see it.

    (Bad faith is wrong, but maybe that's just me.)

  3. I still don't understand why ballots couldn't have been reprinted without Victor's name. It's not like there hasn't been enough lead time. He's been out for months.

    1. It's not a matter of re-printing. Under the NY Election Law, there is a statutory deadline for a candidate to decline a nomination and avoid appearing on the ballot. Victor did not decline the nomination prior to the legal deadline and New York law therefore does not allow his name to be removed.