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  • Writer's pictureClaverack Democrats


Candidates commit to transparency, sustainability, and good governance.


Claverack, NY – On Sunday, September 12, at the Homestead Happy Hour, neighbors and elected leaders gathered to support the Claverack Democratic candidates and to celebrate community sustainability. The outdoor event, which took place at a 50-acre property with a home built from recycled cargo containers and nature trails was an incredible success. “Around 80 neighbors from all parts of Claverack turned out for the event,” said Stephanie Sussman, Chair of the Claverack Democratic Committee. “Our incredible candidates had the crowd cheering and excited about change.”

The home, built from recycled cargo containers, was the backdrop for an important conversation about how to make Claverack a more sustainable community that recognizes the interdependence of economic, environmental, and social needs in a community without damaging natural and cultural resources. Local farms and businesses provided all the food and drinks.

“This was an excellent opportunity to speak with community members about sustainability and the issues that matter to all of us,” said Kathleen Proper, the Democratic candidate for Town Supervisor. In addition to Proper, Brenda Shufelt and Brian Yorck for Town Board and Nat Drake for Town Clerk spoke to an enthralled crowd that is hungry for a change in Claverack leadership. The candidates talked about good governance, transparency, and a commitment to build a community that works for all residents, not just for some.

Featured guests Representative Antonio Delgado (NY-19), Assemblymember Didi Barrett (AD-106), and Claverack Councilmember Katy Cashen, offered their perspectives about the importance of local races. Delgado, reflecting on the September 11th Remembrance Ceremonies, spoke about the need for our communities to be united as they were 20 years ago in response to the 9/11 terrorist attack, rather than the divisiveness we see today. He said that working together on local issues at the local level is how it begins.

Barrett, a Claverack resident, spoke about the need to address climate change and community sustainability by advancing composting programs in Columbia County and increasing the number of farms participating in carbon sequestration regenerative farming. Barrett secured funding in 2019 for a pilot program in carbon sequestration farming, which started with farms in Columbia and Dutchess Counties and has now expanded to other counties in the Hudson Valley.

Sussman spoke about the four towns in Columbia County that all had long-standing, resident-led broadband committees, with “shovel ready” plans, who recently received $829,000, secured by Delgado, to connect over 300 homes and businesses with broadband. Claverack has no broadband committee, and as a result, was left out of the appropriation. “This was a failure of the Republican-led Town Board. They aren’t focused on the future, aren’t interested in innovating, and lack the leadership to move Claverack forward.”

Key issues in the candidates’ campaigns are addressing housing affordability for people to live and work in Claverack, access to affordable and reliable broadband, support for agriculture and small businesses, and a more pedestrian and bike friendly town. They expect to tackle these problems with sound fiscal management by working with county, state, and federal officials to harness financial resources, pursuing grants and partnerships to improve town facilities and programs, and developing resident-led committees to bring economic development and climate smart policies to Claverack.

Kathleen Proper for Town Supervisor, Brenda Shufelt and Brian Yorck for Town Board, and Nat Drake for Town Clerk are all running for office on the Democratic Party and Working Families Party lines. The next opportunity to meet the candidates is Saturday, September 25, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Chicken BBQ Candidate Meet and Greet in the Claverack Town Park, 91 Church Street, Mellenville. Purchase tickets in advance at Additional information about the candidates can be found at

Also in attendance at the Homestead Happy Hour were Columbia County Sheriff candidate Don Krapf and his designated Undersheriff Jackie Salvatore, along with Keith Kanaga, Columbia County Democratic Committee Chair.

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