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Political newcomer Alan Wood vying to unseat incumbent town supervisor

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CAPE VINCENT — Republican town Supervisor Urban C. Hirschey and his Democratic challenger Alan N. Wood will face off for supervisor in yet another heated election.

While their past stances on industrial wind development are at the polar opposite, both candidates maintain they are running to ensure transparency in government and give the local economy a needed jolt.

A lifelong farmer and past co-owner of Wood Farms, a $4 million operation with 20 employees, Mr. Wood has since sold his interest in the family farm and is now helping his wife, Tracylynn A., expand her cottage rental business in Mud Bay.

Mr. Wood said the community is torn over the wind issue and the only way to move forward is by getting “common sense candidates,” namely this year’s Democratic candidates, elected to the Town Council.

“You’ve got to forget about everything else and focus on getting people back in the Cape,” Mr. Wood said. “If you look at how the town board operates these days, there’s a total lack of common sense. And that’s what we’re all about — common sense. We’re the working people. That’s what you need back in government.”

Mr. Wood also served the town of Cape Vincent for 13 years dealing with zoning issues — as the former chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals and Cape Vincent’s zoning officer, a job he held from 2004 through the end of 2011.

But the political newcomer faces an uphill battle against a popular incumbent who successfully defended his seat in 2011 with a landslide victory.

Mr. Hirschey, former member of the Wind Power Ethics Group, was first elected to office in November 2009 and has been credited for playing a key role in Kingston, Ontario-based aluminum boat manufacturer MetalCraft Marine’s move into the community two years ago.

Under his leadership, the town also updated its comprehensive plan for community development and revised Cape Vincent’s zoning law. The new set of zoning ordinances introduced tough local restrictions on wind energy development, among other things.

Initially, he had planned on seeking a lesser role on the council and had announced in March that he did not intend to run for supervisor.

But he changed his mind in May, partly because his fellow Republican councilmen Brooks J. Bragdon and Clifford P. Schneider were poised to square off in the Republican primary.

At that time, Mr. Hirschey said he also wished to continue helping the community further realize its untapped potential .

Mr. Hirschey’s past two terms were not without controversy, however, with wind farm advocates at one point calling for his resignation over allegedly leaking confidential town information — attorney-client-privileged documents — to the anti-wind WPEG he had cofounded.

In March 2011, the state attorney general’s office denied a request for an investigation.

Meanwhile, four candidates are vying for two Town Council seats. Council members Mr. Bragdon and Michelle T. Oswald, Republicans, will face Democratic challengers Dennis W. Pearson and Paul Aubertine — son of former state Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine. Mr. Pearson also is running on the Advocates for Good Government line.

Mr. Pearson’s wife, Betty J., a Democrat, is hoping to unseat incumbent Town Clerk Michele A. Bouchard, Republican.

Highway Superintendent Danny P. Hubbard is running unopposed for re-election.

For village board, three incumbents — Mayor Timothy Maloney and trustees Elisabeth Brennan, Democrat, and Pamela H. Youngs, Republican — are running unopposed.

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