Residents announce for mayor, trustee seats
The race for Nelsonville’s Village Board picked up this week when Rudolf van Dommele announced his candidacy for mayor and Tom Campanile launched a campaign for trustee.
Earlier this month, Chris Winward, currently a trustee, declared her candidacy for mayor, hoping to succeed Mike Bowman, who chose not to run for a second term.
At stake in the election, scheduled for March 15, are two trustee positions held by Winward and Dave Moroney, and the mayor’s job. Candidates can submit nominating petitions, signed by at least 22 voters, from Tuesday (Feb. 1) until Feb. 8 at Village Hall.
Van Dommele, who operates two Airbnb units on his property and ran unsuccessfully in 2018 for a trustee seat, has been an outspoken opponent of a newly enacted law regulating short-term rentals. In a statement on Tuesday (Jan. 25), he called for revisiting the law, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, to “properly identify the need for implementation and enforcement, based on facts.”
He faulted Winward for advocating the law, which, he asserted, is based on “unwarranted fear and hysteria” and said that, if elected, “my primary goal will be to restore trust in our village’s government, with a promise of transparency and accountability.”
His other positions include establishing committees to oversee ethics questions and study the public use of a 4-acre, village-owned parcel along Secor Street.
Van Dommele claimed that a 2020 decision to include the Secor parcel in the Nelsonville Woods conservation easement overseen by the Open Space Institute made it “inaccessible to the public.” As an alternative, he suggested an athletic field.
He also proposed that Nelsonville, the Cold Spring Fire Co., and American Legion confer over broader use of the surrounding site, which he termed “an ideal location for a new firehouse and public services campus.”
Campanile kicked off his candidacy on Tuesday with a statement citing his record of involvement in the community and region, including leading Philipstown’s Boy Scout Troop 437 and serving on the Greater Hudson Valley Scout Council’s executive board, the board of the Hudson Highlands Land Trust, a Haldane school committee and the Nelsonville Trails Committee.
He praised the Village Board for preserving Nelsonville’s “unique and special” small-town character while navigating some weighty issues. “Village meetings are welcoming to all and feel more like a discussion among neighbors than big government meetings,” he said. “This board has set a great tone and I would love to have the opportunity to add my voice.”
Campanile added that he is “not affiliated with any party or single-issue group and will approach any decisions or responsibilities with an independent perspective. I honestly don’t view this as a political endeavor. I’m approaching it as an ‘elected volunteer’ opportunity that I hope my neighbors will consider me for.”