Like in almost every every other Hastings Village election for the last 10 years, the GOP line will be blank on ballots for the village board of trustees race in March.
About 10 members of the Hastings Republican Party met Tuesday night in the to discuss their goals for the village and concerns about how it's currently run.
But despite Committee Chair Tim Hays' mantra of "no more rubber stamp elections in Hastings," nobody in attendance was willing to step up and run for one of the two seats that will become open on the village board in March.
"It's frustrating as the chairman of the committee not to have a candidate year after year," Hays said. "Last year, when I was working as an elections inspector for the uncontested elections, a man came up to me and expressed his anger at these races that never offer any choice. I agree with his frustration that we've been rubber stamped most of the time."
"Now is our chance to support and endorse a responsible moderate candidate who will offer residents a choice in these upcoming elections," Hays said. "Both Democrats [who have been nominated] have track records. One is a fiscally responsible banker. The other has a track record of serving on the board for three terms—and that's a record we can analyze and ask voters, 'Do we want to have her represent us for another two years?'"
Hays admitted though that he didn't know what aspects specifically of Democrat Marge Apel's past history on the board he would attempt to challenge.
Republicans in attendence Tuesday night discussed at length what their platform would be if they were to run a candidate.
"We stand for fiscal responsability," Hays said.
Committee Vice-Chair Bob Wilt added: "We need a fresh voice with a common sense point of view."
Steve Shryock, an insurance professional who has lived in the village his entire life, said he thought greater attention needed to be paid to the police and fire departments.
"There's a lack of big picture perspective on the board," said Shryock, whose mother served on the Hastings Board of Trustees as a Democrat for many years. "There's too much of an emphasis on the arts and community events rather than public safety. Current trustees are applying for grants for tourism and the arts, rather than public safety."
A long discussion ensued about .
Mayor Peter Swiderski, who attended the first part of the meeting, reiterated his earlier message that he does not believe there are more residential burglaries—and that there are statistics to illustrate the statement—but that the higher- profile crimes, like the and the recent , may be signs of the times and economic desperation...everywhere, not just in Hastings.
employee and life-long resident Bryan Healy said that he'd come out because he wanted to make sure that he and members of his family could afford to stay in Hastings.
Committee Chair Hays was disappointed not to have a name to submit with an official Republican endorsement—the deadline was last night—but he is still hopeful to have a candidate to oppose Armacost and Apel for the March 20 elections.
"We may have an independent candidate or candidates whom the GOP committee will support," he said, adding that money will be available for the campaign from county-level Republican organizations. Republicans have until Feb. 14 to declare candidates.
"I just want to see balance on the board," Hays said. "There has been no agreement on the Waterfront in 15 years, whereas Irvington's waterfront now looks like Baltimore Harbor. I understand that Republicans are outnumbered four-to-one in Hastings, but I think that if we can put up a responsible, moderate candidate to oppose the Democratic nominees, we'll have a shot."
Want to run for the Hastings Board of Trustees? You have two weeks to decide.