The Putnam Examiner

Addonizio Faces Dem. Challenger in Leg. 3 Race

We are part of The Trust Project

When Legislator Toni Addonizio first ran for the Putnam County Legislature three years ago, she had to get through a Republican primary against a GOP committee backed candidate and then prevail in a general election contest.

Now, Addonizio is the Republican endorsed candidate and while it doesn’t appear she’ll be entangled in a primary, the incumbent will have a Democratic opponent. Kent resident Phil Tolmach was nominated by the county Democratic Committee to run for the legislative 3 seat against Addonizio on May 22.

Tolmach said having an interest in local government and sitting on various boards drew him to running for the legislature. He believes right now the county Legislature “doesn’t do very much and I would like to see them do more.”

He’s part of both the Kent planning board and conservation advisory committee.

Tolmach said he would like to see more “green businesses” enter Putnam, an initiative he’s pushed for in Kent that’s meant to protect the environment. He said bringing in those green businesses would keep taxes down and provide good jobs for younger adults.

Tolmach would also like tourism in the county to improve and thinks there should be better communication between the county and town governments.

When asked about Addonizio’s record during her first term, Tolmach replied, “I don’t know if she’s done very much of anything,” but conceded he hasn’t read over every transcript of legislative meetings “so I could be missing a lot, but that’s my impression.”

Tolmach knows he has an uphill battle against Addonizio with registration numbers slightly favoring Republicans and the incumbent easily winning her seat three years ago.

He noted he knows many Republicans in town that have told him they will support him and he hopes the stances he’s advocating for resonate with more voters.

“I’m a little optimistic,” he said.

But so is Addonizio, who vowed to continue to acknowledge the needs of the community if reelected.

Addonizio is chairwoman of the Economic Development Committee and a member of the Health Committee and Rules Committee. She said she’s addressed issues important to community members. For instance, when residents contacted her about feral cats, she set up a forum and did the same thing with the controversial Common Core learning standards. She pushed the legislature to pass a resolution voicing disapproval toward the Common Core that was sent to New York State.

“When my constituents contact me with concerns, I work diligently to find solutions,” she said.

Addonizio also initiated a change to the way the county sold off foreclosed property under its control. After a year on the multiple listing service (MLS), the property will be auctioned off. Previously, the property stayed on the MLS until it was sold, which could take years. The first auction by the county will take place soon, Addonizio said.

Currently, she said she’s working with the county on getting grants for water and sewer in the Lake Carmel area and plans to hold a forum on the proposed constitutional convention in New York later this year.

Pledging to be an independent voice on the legislature, Addonizio burst onto the political scene three years ago when she ran against former Kent councilman and ex-legislator Lou Tartaro in a Republican primary. She triumphed, getting close to 70 percent of the vote. Then in the general election she easily topped Jeff Green, who was a Green Party member running on the Democratic line.

Addonizio, who was also endorsed by the county Conservative Party, said she’s remained independent on the county Legislature, but has still been able to collaborate with colleagues.

“I do my research before I make any decision,” Addonizio said.

We'd love for you to support our work by joining as a free, partial access subscriber, or by registering as a full access member. Members get full access to all of our content, and receive a variety of bonus perks like free show tickets. Learn more here.