Veteran office holders and first-time candidates will face off in Bedford’s town elections this fall. Whatever the results, residents will see new faces in several town offices.
Most visible among the contests is the race for Bedford town supervisor. That slot opened up after former Supervisor Chris Burdick was elected to the state Assembly last fall and took office in Albany in January.
The town board then appointed former deputy supervisor, MaryAnn Carr, as interim supervisor, pending the election this November. Ms. Carr appointed town board member Ellen Calves to replace her as deputy supervisor. The two then both declared their candidacies for supervisor and faced off in a Democratic primary in June, which was won handily by Ms. Calves.
As a result, Ms. Calves is the Democratic candidate for supervisor, and Ms. Carr will be off the board as of the start of January. Ms. Calves is currently serving a four-year term on the town board; if she does not win on Nov. 2, she will remain in her position.
Running against Ms. Calves is Don Scott, who served as a town board member from 2015 through 2020. Mr. Scott was the Republican candidate for supervisor in 2013, and lost to Mr. Burdick. Ironically, Mr. Scott was initially elected to the town board to fill the final year of Mr. Burdick‘s term after Mr. Burdick became supervisor. Mr. Scott was then reelected to a full four-year term before being defeated when Democrats swept the board elections in November 2019. Winning her first board seat in that election was, in fact, Ms. Calves.
Adding further to the intrigue in this election is the fact that Mr. Scott, and his running mates, are downplaying the fact they are endorsed by the Republican Party and, instead, emphasizing that they are the candidates of Bedford United. Mr. Scott has been an advocate for nonpartisan local elections, and originally created Bedford United in 2019. This will be the first election where Bedford United appears on its own ballot line.
Running with Mr. Scott on both the Republican and Bedford United lines are Peter Michaelis and Alli Choi for town board, and Clark Petschek for town justice. All would be new to these positions.
Running on the Democratic line with Ms. Calves are Stephanie McCaine and Andres Castillo for town board, and Jodi Kimmel for town justice. Ms. McCaine is running for reelection, as she was appointed to the board in January to fill the seat vacated by Ms. Carr.
The town justice position opened up because Erik Jacobsen, who held that post, was arrested for DWI in 2019. He was sentenced to a one-year conditional discharge in November 2020 and suspended from his judicial duties by the state, but Mr. Jacobsen remains an employee of the town and officially in the position of town justice until his term expires at the end of this year.
Ms. Calves said that after successfully leading efforts alongside residents, organizations and businesses that helped to make Bedford an environmental leader in New York state, she has the skills, experience, and passion to move Bedford forward. “I love this beautiful town and will maintain its beauty, support the things that make it unique, and do the important work we need to do now to prepare us to thrive in the future,” she said.
Mr. Scott runs a Katonah-based legal marketing firm. He said he has been deeply involved in the leadership of Bedford for more than three decades. In addition to serving on the town board, he was a three-term president of the Katonah-Lewisboro School Board. He has also served on Bedford’s Wetlands Control Commission and was a Katonah Fire Commissioner. “We are humbled to have the support of Bedford voters from across the political spectrum,” he said of the Bedford United endorsement.
Running with Mr. Scott, Mr. Michaelis is the longstanding chairman of Bedford’s Zoning Board of Appeals and Bedford’s Communications Advisory Committee. He has also served on the Conservation Board, Tree Advisory Board and Emergency Planning Committee. He is the former chairman and president of the Bedford Historical Society and vice president of the Friends of John Jay Homestead. Mr. Michaelis worked for decades as a journalist and producer for television and print media. He previously ran twice unsuccessfully for county legislator.
A first-time candidate also running with Mr. Scott, Ms. Choi is the parent of a first grader at Bedford Village Elementary School and a preschooler at Landmark Nursery. She previously worked at Goldman Sachs and Equinox. She has been involved in several bipartisan initiatives to break down political polarization, including the Experiment In Dialogue, the Renew Democracy Initiative and The Flip Side.
On the Democratic ticket with Ms. Calves, Mr. Castillo is another first-time candidate. A first-generation American, he is a health care administrator, community advocate and nonprofit leader focused on youth empowerment. He has been a resident of Bedford Hills for over five years, and is a graduate of Bedford Central Schools, which he attended from kindergarten through his senior year at Fox Lane. He said he is committed to transparency and inclusion in local government, increasing access to affordable housing, improving infrastructure, protecting the environment, revitalizing the local economy and advancing equity for all residents.
A Democratic town board incumbent, Ms. McCaine grew up in Katonah. She is an experienced school and college administrator who currently works at the Harvey School, where in addition to enrolling new students, she leads the schoolwide DEI committee. She said she strives to foster honest and courageous dialogue, consensus building, community engagement and collaboration. She has volunteered with and served on the boards of a variety of nonprofit and community-based organizations in Bedford and Westchester County.
The Democratic candidate for town justice, Ms. Kimmel was born in Toronto, Canada, and moved to New York in 1998 to attend law school at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. She has spent almost 20 years as a litigator, first working for celebrity divorce lawyer Raoul Lionel Felder, and then in 2004, starting her own family law practice with her husband, with whom she moved to Bedford Hills in 2008. She is presently co-president of the Fox Lane Middle School PTO, sits on the Parent President Committee for parent presidents throughout the Bedford Central School District and she helps raise funds for the Foundation for Bedford Central Schools. She chaired the Town of Bedford’s Complete Count Committee for the 2020 Census, drives a route for Bedford’s Meals on Wheels program, and was part of Bedford’s COVID-19 volunteer program.
Mr. Petschek, the Republican and Bedford United town justice candidate, has been a part of the Bedford community for over 40 years. He grew up in Katonah, and it is where he and his wife raised their three children. Following his graduation from Harvard, he served in the Army for eight years as an officer in the Special Forces and infantry. He then earned a law degree and embarked on a diverse 20-year legal career. He practiced civil and criminal litigation at WilmerHale, a leading international law firm, and then served as in-house counsel at an investment bank and a risk management firm. For the last three years, he has served as a Hearing Officer for the New York State Gaming Commission and the New York State Retirement System. Clark has also served on Bedford’s Zoning Board of Appeals since 2012 and was a founding member of Bedford’s Veterans Committee.
Also on the November ballot, though running unopposed, is Lisbeth “Boo” Fumagalli, who has been endorsed by all parties for reelection as town clerk. Ms. Fumagalli has lived her entire life in Bedford and has served as Bedford’s town clerk for almost 20 years, according to the Bedford United website.
On Jan. 1, 2022, Bedford Town Clerk will be one office where residents will not see a new face.