Three candidates vie for Canton Town Council

Oct. 26—CANTON — Three candidates, two incumbents and one newcomer,will vie for two seats on the Canton Town Council on Election Day, Nov. 7

Both incumbents, Robert Santamoor and Randall Brown are completing unexpired terms. Santamoor won an election in 2021 to serve the remainder of a term held by Karin Blackburn. Blackburn left the seat when she was appointed to fill the town clerk's position.

Brown was appointed to the council in February to fill a term vacated by Robert Washo at the end of 2022.

The newcomer running on the Democratic ticket is Wayne Cuthbert, president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 910 out of Watertown.

Cuthbert has only been the president for the last few months. He was vice president for several years and has been on the union's executive board for more than 20 years.

Cuthbert has lived in St. Lawrence County his entire life and in the town of Canton since 2005 and said he is ready to become more involved.

"I like to see where my tax dollars are going," he said. "I like to see what's going on and wouldn't mind getting a little more involved."

Cuthbert stays busy with his work and a hobby farm but said he has time now, as he approaches retirement, for the political side of life.

Cuthbert said his career as an electrician and in construction would be an asset to the town when evaluating building projects, especially solar installations.

The town is diverse, he said, with rural areas, two villages and two colleges.

" I think we all want the same thing for the town. Keep our taxes in check," he said. "I want the town to be prosperous."

Brown, a Democrat, has been on the town council for nine months.

He did a lot of reading and listening for the first two months.

"It took me a month or two to become a productive member," he said. "Now I feel that I know the topics well enough to contribute."

Brown said he doesn't think people understand how much time a town councilman has to put into the job. Much of the work goes on in committee meetings.

"To do the job well, you have to put in a lot of time. I went to 15 meetings in July," he said.

Brown is a retired Hugh C. Williams math teacher and one of the winningest hockey coaches in the area.

As an educator, he said he knows that there needs to be work done on extending broadband service to the rural parts of the town. He said distance learning will be a part of the future of education and the town needs to be prepared.

He would also like to see the proposed EDF solar installation be resolved.

"Ultimately, it will be good for the town," he said.

He said the project would bring significant money to the town, the school, and the county.

Brown said he doesn't consider himself a politician.

"I listen to people," he said. "Everybody has advice on what should be going on. I educate myself on the issues. Listen to what people have to say and then make a decision."

Santamoor is the lone Republican in the race.

Santamoor has about 37 years of management experience, including 15 years of government experience in public health, the county treasurer's office and now in the Potsdam and Canton housing authorities.

Santamoor said things have gone well during his time on the Canton board.

"I think we've had a very good two years," he said. "I listen to everybody and I listen to all sides."

Fiscal responsibility is what constituents want, he said.

"I think the majority of the residents of Canton, just like any other municipality, they want to make sure that we're paying attention to how we're spending their money," Santamoor said.

He said inflation has made budgeting a considerable challenge.

" I think the biggest piece of that is making sure we are going forward and we still keep our budgets at reasonable rates where residents can expect to receive the services that they want to receive," he said. "I think the board as a whole has done a very good job of managing that process."

The proliferation of solar installations has been constant since Santamoor has been on the board.

"I'd like to make sure that we don't overextend on the solar projects. I think that that's an important thing to look at," he said.

Santamoor sits on the Economic Development Committee, a joint committee with town and village members.

"There's a lot of things out there that I know that can be done to help local businesses stay afloat, and maybe new businesses come into town," he said. "Because if they come into the village, they come into the town. I think that that just helps keep our younger folks here in town instead of moving out of town. We have to have something that that that keeps them here or brings new folks here."