Harrison Dems Name Unprecedented All-Female Slate

Harrison Town Supervisor Ron Belmont and former Town Supervisor Joan Walsh Set to Face-Off  Photo/Hometwn.com

Harrison Town Supervisor Ron Belmont and former Town Supervisor Joan Walsh Set to Face-Off

After a special caucus held on June 10, the Harrison Democratic Committee has named its slate for the 2013 election. It is the first all-female Democratic slate in Harrison history.

At the top of the ballot, Joan Walsh, the former two-term mayor of Harrison, leads the all-female ticket with the intent of reclaiming leadership from first-term incumbent Mayor Ron Belmont, a Republican.

“I felt a sense of responsibility to the town,” said Walsh, 78, regarding her candidacy, “which I’ve worked so hard for, for so long.”

This story first appeared in the June 21, 2013 edition of The Harrison Report

Joining Walsh on the ticket, Town Council hopeful Rosemarie Verano has thrown her hat in the ring with the hopes of unseating one of two GOP incumbents, Marlene Amelio and Joseph Cannella.

“I’m flattered to be given the opportunity,” Verano, 60, said after receiving word on the final slate.

Verano is a single parent and lifelong resident of West Harrison who declared an interest in running on the Democratic ticket this past week. She hopes to bring a new perspective to issues facing the town.

“It’d be nice to get some fresh people up [on the board],” said Verano,. “There are a number of issues facing the town…some came to a resolution, some haven’t.”

Discussing several ongoing issues still before the council—including union contract negotiations, zoning and illegal housing—Verano is hopeful to, if elected, bring a little bit of change to the board.

Having no prior experience in politics, Verano said she is willing to give it her all and run a reliable, responsible and respectful campaign. An active member of community and civic organizations, Verano previously served as a member of the West Harrison Neighborhood Association, chairwoman of the Senior Citizens Committee, and as a participant in several functions with the St. Anthony of Padua church.

“I really feel you need to lead by example,” Verano said.

Democratic district leaders first convened on May 13 with the intent of nominating candidates for local and county office. However, only Michael LaDore was named to the local slate, at the time, with the rest of the slate still to be determined.

LaDore has since decided to drop out of the race due to Walsh’s mayoral candidacy. In his place, Democratic Chairwoman Elizabeth “Jimmi” Pritchard—a former town councilwoman in the 1990s—has filled out the slate.

“I’m excited…I think we have the right blend of people,” said Pritchard, 70. “Mike [LaDore] had his own reasons why he wanted to pull out, and I’m sorry he did, but we felt it really important there be no holes in the slate.”

According to Pritchard, the all-female slate has also acquired the assistance of former Councilman Pat Vetere, a lifelong Harrison resident, who will serve as the Walsh team’s advisor.

“Pat is one of those people who is popular on both sides of the aisle,” Pritchard said.

Also on the ticket, the Democrats have nominated Margaret “Peg” Conover for town clerk and Maria Fiore for receiver of taxes.

A 24-year West Harrison resident, Conover said she joined the ticket because of her experience writing minutes for the Silver Lake Co-Op board.

“I felt like running because I have a strong sense of community service…and the background skills to do the job,” Conover said of her candidacy.

For Fiore, a retiree with over 30 years experience as manager of the local J.P. Morgan Chase branch, this is an opportunity to stay active in the community.

“I’ve been at home for about a year,” said Fiore, 66. “I do miss the people…being out there and helping my Harrison friends.”

Apart from her history in banking and finance, Fiore is a notary public, holds a New York State life insurance license, and currently serves on the Harrison Friends of the Opera Board of Directors. She received a proclamation from the town, in 2010, for her service.

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