POUGHKEEPSIE – In a historic shift, Town of Poughkeepsie voters have elected a new supervisor and for the first time in over twenty years, a Democratic majority on the town board. With a margin of 88 votes in the supervisor race, larger than the number of affidavit ballots remaining to be counted, challenger Rebecca Edwards has defeated incumbent Republican Supervisor Jon Jay Baisley.
Board members-elect Barbara Laird in Ward 2 and Ryan Sharpe in Ward 5, both newcomers, will join Ward 6 incumbent Ann Shershin to give Democrats at least a 4-3 majority on the board. Ward 3 remains too close to call, with incumbent Ann Burger leading Democrat Danielle DeLeon by just three votes before the count of affidavit ballots.
In addition to running on the Democratic ticket, Edwards, Laird, Sharpe, DeLeon, and Shershin all ran on the independent “We Are Town of Pok” ballot line, created by residents fighting the town’s proposal to borrow $54 million for a municipal complex at the Poughkeepsie Day School site on Boardman Road. A vote on the bond was scheduled for Dec. 14, 2022 but was withdrawn after public outcry. “We Are Town of Pok” leaders objected to the high cost of the loan—which would have cost $90 million to pay back over 25 years—and the lack of new services to residents.
Edwards, a 30-year town resident, said, “It’s an honor to have met so many voters across town, and I’m excited about the changes we can bring. Our team looks forward to building a more open, accountable town government to serve our residents.”
“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the public in this capacity,” said Sharpe, “and I believe together we will do great things for the Town of Poughkeepsie.”
“With the same strong team mentality that we ran on,” said Laird, “I am looking forward to working with everyone and helping our entire town thrive.”
Shershin said, “This is a great opportunity for the town to move forward with initiatives we’ve been discussing for a long time.”
Town of Poughkeepsie Democratic Chairperson Kelly Lappan said, “We are so very excited that the Town of Poughkeepsie will have a Democratic majority for the first time in 22 years and can work hard to make our town more responsive and transparent to voters, who deserve to be heard.”
With about 45,000 residents, the Town of Poughkeepsie is the largest municipality in Dutchess County and includes about one-sixth of the county’s population.