No matter who is elected, change is coming to Montgomery County. After voters decided last November to change from a Board of Supervisors to a legislature, they'll choose who's best fit to run that new government on Tuesday. As YNN's Maria Valvanis explains, one candidate believes it's experience that matters, while the other says now is the time for a fresh start.
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, N.Y. -- Voters in Montgomery County will decide who will become the first county executive.
Democratic candidate Domenick Stagliano is currently the St. Johnsville Town Supervisor. With more than 20 years of experience in local politics, Staglian said he knows the problems the county faces and how to fix them.
"We need to invest in our future. So we need to get a handle on our finances and actually plan. I know how to do the multi-year planning because I've done it in the past,” said Stagliano.
Republican candidate Matt Ossenfort is a senior legislative analysis born and raised in Amsterdam. He agrees finances are the county's number one issue, but says he would make any changes after speaking with others.
"We have to talk with the new legislature we have to talk with voters and we need to talk with department heads,” said Ossenfort.
However, the biggest challenge for either candidate will be the transition from the only government the county has ever known.
Stagliano said, “I've been in favor of the Charter since the first discussion in 78."
"When it passed, I was very excited,” Ossenfort added.
Both candidates say the change from a 15 member board of supervisors to a nine person legislature was the right move to help bring the county together. However, the transition won't be an easy process.
“The new legislature will need guidance, they will need someone who has been here. And I can provide that transition period,” Stagliano said.
"This election you have a choice between the old way of doing it and the new way of doing it,” noted Ossenfort.
The candidates agree once the transition is settled and finances are on the right track, the county’s future will become the next focus.
"Regional economic development, bringing people together to make sure we're actually implementing the plan, it's great to have a plan but you need to put that plan into action which I think my leadership will provide,” said Ossenfort.
Stagliano added, “We're all talking about the regional approach which is fine and important but one of the biggest concerns we have in the county is that we as a county need to be united."
Stagliano says his years in local politics have helped him build trust with many town and village officials to form a united front.
Meanwhile, Ossenfort says he's been spending the campaign season meeting with officials, to begin discussing a future together.