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By Lacey Gardner

Alma NY Election 2023: Q&A with town council candidate David Shields

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“I’m excited to see the field running for the Board this year”

By Andrew Harris

David Shields is no stranger to Alma town politics or the workings of that government. He was appointed the acting highway superintendent in 2022 and now is a “write-in” candidate for Alma Town Council.

We asked “Dave” the same questions that other candidates will be asked for readers, and voters to compare as Election Day approaches. Early voting starts October 28 in Allegany County.

Q:  Once elected, what is mission #1 ? 

Mission one is to encourage interaction and debate within the Board while also welcoming input from constituents. Open dialog will go a long way towards improving the “political” climate in Alma. 

Q:  Considering the last ten years of chaos in Alma’s politics: Is it time to for a more regional government ?  Like Alma/Willing/Independence ?

Absolutely and emphatically “NO”. New York State has repeatedly and consistently proven that “bigger” is NOT “better”. Alma has, admittedly, suffered from some controversy over the past few years, but I have complete faith in the People of The Township and that they WILL get things fixed. 

Q: Reports indicated that the taxes in Alma are about the go up fairly dramatically.  How will you help avoid that?

Unfortunately, nothing is as “cheap as it used to be”. However, prudent monitoring and management of tax dollars and expenditures is a huge part of an effective Town Board. During my previous tenure on the Board, we never had a tax increase more than 2%, and I believe that only happened once. I would hope that we can assemble a majority opinion of Board members that are willing to return to those expectations. 

Q: How does Alma repair the damage done and attract new faces to the town board ?

I’m excited to see the field running for the Board this year. Michelle is very qualified in financial matters, Paula does her homework and, although she and I have experienced some vigorous exchanges of opinions over the years, no one can deny her passion and concern for the Town of Alma. Jerry and Bill are running as effective incumbents. Josh Pye is an intelligent, well spoken young man with terrific family values. Logan Capito is, like myself, mounting a write-in campaign and is a very intelligent, hard-working young man. I bring many years of experience and a love of the Township to the table. I believe that we’re already well on the way to “repairing the damage and attracting new faces to the Board”…

Q: Please complete the SWOT(Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis below for the Town of Alma:

STRENGTHS: 

The strengths of our Township are, always have been, and will continue to be our residents, their families and the values and creativity  they treasure. 

WEAKNESSES:

Right now, our whole world seems to be upside down. People seem to be unwilling to agree on anything, including “agreeing to disagree”. While this phenomenon is certainly not specific to Alma, we are suffering from it. We have to start to rebuild relationships, and the most basic, grassroots place to begin is with Town governments. 

OPPORTUNITIES:

Alma has natural resources and properties that could be developed into productive tax income sources. We have a great Highway Department and newer,  well-maintained facilities with decent roads and infrastructure. Developing greater interest in newcomers buying property and starting businesses in the Town could help us greatly. 

THREATS: 

The single greatest threat to our Township is the current, seemingly worldwide, rancor and animosity between people of differing philosophies. New York State has become a “big-government” mess very akin to California and other “blue” states. We need to re-visit our attitudes, become a bit more independent and self-sufficient and patriotic. The Township level seems, to me, to be the ideal, if not only, place to begin a return to proud, unapologetic Americanism.

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