B y Derek Liebig
Whitehall residents will choose the community’s next magistrate during Tuesday’s general election.
The race for town justice highlights an Election Day that also includes a four-man race for two seats on the town council.
The race for justice features an intriguing slate of candidates, with four residents vying for two four-year terms as town justice.
Incumbent Tom Nichols and village trustee Ken Bartholomew are running on the Republican ticket while Virginia Rivette and Robert Putorti Jr. will represent the Democratic Party on line A.
Three of the candidates have held elected office and the fourth has held a position appointed by town officials.
Rivette is employed by the state department of corrections and has been a member of the Whitehall Board of Education for three consecutive five-year terms. She currently serves as the board’s president and was previously vice president.
Putorti is a town employee (highway department) and has previously served as animal control officer. He is also president of the Whitehall-area snowmobile club.
Bartholomew is a village trustee who has ran for justice on two previous occasions and worked for more than a year in the village courts under the late Richard “Geezer” Gordon.
Nichols currently serves as village and town justice alongside Julie Eagan and as such is an experienced candidate. He was first elected as town justice in 2009 and is employed by St. Gobain.
Eagan, a Democrat, was elected to a second term as village justice in March, but is not seeking another term as town justice.
Although Bartholomew and Rivette both hold office, neither of those positions would exclude them from simultaneously serving as justice.
Like the race for town justice, the race for town council also features four candidates for two open seats.
Scott Martel and Robert Carswell are running on the Democratic ticket while incumbent David Hollister and John Rozell are running on the Republican platform.
Martel is business manager for Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 773 in Glens Falls and the chairman of the Whitehall Democratic Party.
His running mate, Carswell, is retired from the Department of Corrections. He has been a member of the Washington County Democratic Committee for nearly 40 years. He is a graduate of Whitehall High School and attended Adirondack Community College before joining the U.S. Navy and serving in Vietnam.
He is active in American Legion Post 83, having been a member for the past 42 years and has served as its treasurer since 2006. He is also active in the Sons of the American Legion. He previously ran for town council in 2005 and 2011.
A lifelong resident of Whitehall, Rozell is a self-employed contractor and venison hide processor. He is a member of the Washington County Federation of Sportsmen, the Whitehall Fish and Game Club and serves on the board of directors of the Lake Champlain Walleye Association.
He said he chose to run because he believes taxes can be lower and he hopes to stimulate the growth of new businesses and jobs.
Hollister, a local dairy farmer, is one of the most experienced candidates in Tuesday’s field. He has served on the town council for three consecutive terms dating back to 2001 and had served as councilman on previous occasions.
If Hollister is reelected and Rozell were to win, the Republicans would hold every seat on town council.
Councilman Richard LaChapelle is the only Democrat currently serving on the board but is not seeking reelection.
The winners of Tuesday’s town council race will be elected to four-year terms.
The position of supervisor will also be included on Tuesday’s ballot but the Democrats were unable to put forth a candidate and George Armstrong is virtually ensured of a second term in office.
Residents of districts 1, 2, 3, and 4 can vote at the Whitehall Municipal Center. Voters in district 5 can cast their ballots at the Town of Whitehall Highway Garage.
Polling hours are 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.