One of the two slates competing for New Castle Town Board has tapped Chappaqua Board of Education President Victoria Tipp to replace a candidate who announced last week she would be leaving the race.
Tipp, who is in her fourth term on the school board, will take over for Jenni Louis-Jeune on the independent Unite New Castle line and said she intends to run a write-in campaign for the June 22 Democratic primary.
“I am running to help build a sustainable and inclusive future for New Castle,” Tipp said as part of a statement Tuesday morning. “We do that by restoring civility to town government, uniting our community to build a common vision for revitalizing our town, and creating opportunities for people of all backgrounds, races and creeds to live in and be part of the community we love. We can achieve these goals without ceding control of our town to private developers.”
She is running for the seat carrying the two-year unexpired term. Her running mates are supervisor candidate and current Councilwoman Lisa Katz and Andrea Sanseverino Galan and Tara McAdam Kassal who are competing for the four-year terms.
They are facing the Democratic-endorsed ticket of Chappaqua Board of Education Vice President Holly McCall for supervisor, Councilwoman Lori Morton and Michael Weinberg for the four-year seats for Town Board while Jennifer Bounds is running for the two-year term. McCall and her running mates will also appear on the independent 4 New Castle line in November.
Katz welcomed Tipp to the race, calling her “one of the most committed public servants in our community.”
“Her experience on the Chappaqua School Board will bring a valuable perspective to town government, especially as we consider the significant impact of our zoning and development decisions on the school system,” Katz said.
It is the latest twist in what has been an intriguing and increasingly controversial match-up since the four Unite New Castle candidates, all of whom are registered Democrats and opponents of the proposed Form Based Code, jumped into the race and later forced a primary.
On May 18, Louis-Jeune announced on Facebook that she and her family would be relocating this summer after her husband was offered a new job opportunity that could not be passed up.
However, on Tuesday, the Democratic-endorsed slate urged Louis-Jeune to officially withdraw from the race after she will apparently participate in Thursday evening’s League of Women Voters of New Castle’s virtual candidates’ forum.
They argued that campaigning without the intent or ability to serve confuses voters and is misleading.
McCall mentioned that many voters may not have seen Louis-Jeune’s Facebook message last week and either be unaware that she does not intend to serve or wonder why she is still participating.
“It’s confusing to go into a primary and a debate with knowing you will not serve if you win, but presenting yourself in the debate implies that you still want people to vote for you,” McCall said.
Bounds said that if Louis-Jeune participates on Thursday there is a lack of clarity and transparency on the part of their opponents.
“The forum is supposed to compare and contrast candidates on their credentials and the issues, but if you’re debating someone who’s not going to continue, I don’t know how you can get the deliverables you expect out of the debate,” Bounds said.
League of Women Voters of New Castle (LWVNC) President Suzanne Kavic said Tuesday that all candidates who appear on the ballot are eligible to participate in a candidates’ forum. All candidates for Thursday’s New Castle Democratic primary forum have accepted their invitation, she said.
“(The) LWVNC has not been notified that any candidate has officially withdrawn their candidacy,” Kavic said. “The LWVNC Candidates Forum will proceed with all eligible candidates who have agreed to participate.”
According to the Westchester County Board of Elections, a Town Board member must have residency in the municipality they serve, but a candidate does not have to currently live in town.
However, the Board of Elections is still researching what would happen if Louis-Jeune were to win the primary and later move out of New Castle.