It was a sweep for the Democratic Party in the 2009 Village of Whitehall elections, as a pair of incumbents were defeated on Wednesday night.
Democrat Francis “Fra” Putorti was elected to the position of mayor over six-term incumbent Republican Patricia Norton by a count of 496-136.
“Obviously, the people have said tonight that they wanted change,” said Norton as she left the polling place at the Skenesborough Fire House. “I feel that I was able to accomplish a lot during my time in office and I will continue to do what I can to support this community.”
Norton added that she felt that she was “ready to move on to other things now.”
Putorti was not at the fire house, and received word of his election on his way home from a vacation.
“I’m very excited,” said the mayor-elect. “I’m ready to work.”
Putorti said that he never thought that the contest would be as one-sided as it turned out to be, but that the results were a clear message that the citizens of the village wanted a new voice.
“I never thought it would turn out like this, not really,” said Putorti. “The message was clear, though, that they wanted change.”
Along with Putorti, a pair of Democratic candidates were elected to serve on the village board of trustees, with Sallyann Raino receiving 446 votes followed by Michael LaChapelle with 374 votes. Republican incumbent board member Richard Colomb was next with 200 votes, while fellow GOP candidate Dan Welch received 154 votes.
Colomb left the fire house without commenting on the results.
Putorti said that he could not remember a local election where party lines were so heavily favored.
“I don’t think that I have seen this,” said Putorti. “But we had some good candidates running. I would have to look back, but it has probably been a few years since we have had a Democrat-controlled board in Whitehall.”
For LaChapelle, his election will mark a return to the board of trustees after a two-year absence.
“It sounds like the people wanted a change,” said LaChapelle. “I have been going to the meetings and keeping in-tune as much as I could. I am concerned with what is going on in the village and I want to listen to the people and start out with what we have got to work with and go from there.”
Raino echoed the “change” belief in the election results.
“I’m very pleased,” said Raino. “It definitely looks like this was a big vote for change.”
Raino said that she is looking forward to entering office and working on a number of things.
“I still want to look into the possibility of combining the town and village,” said Raino. “After going to the past few meetings of the board, I am also interested into looking for alternative forms of energy for the village.”
Putorti said that he felt the biggest thing on the table immediately was the need for a bypass system at the water filtration plant.
“The first thing is to get that bypass system in up there,” he said. “I know that they have been working on it and we need to follow-up and get that done now.”
Putorti also said that with the other issues facing the village, he was looking forward to working with the board to come up with solutions.
“I am going to start out one day at a time and find out where we are at with things,” he said.
In the race for village justice, Democrat Julie Scott was elected to the position with 479 votes. Republican challenger Kenneth Bartholomew, a current member of the board of trustees, received 138 votes in the race for judge.
“I am really happy that the people took the time to look at my resume and see what I have to offer,” said Scott. “I am also very humbled by the results. I’m excited about doing a good job.”
The new village officers will be sworn in at the village’s organizational meeting on Monday, April 6. No time has been set for the meeting as of now.
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