Dems elect Heary to lead them into the future


By Patsy Nicosia

After 50 years, the Schoharie County Democratic Committee has a new leader.
Theresa Heary of Wright, an educator who became involved in local politics after the 2016 election, won election Thursday over Jim Buzon of Middleburgh, 2777-1338 in weighed voting.
But Ms. Heary’s first and biggest challenge may be not Republicans, but Democrats.
Ms. Heary replaces longtime chair Cliff Hay of Cobleskill, who resigned in anger and disgust in September over simmering disputes between mostly-younger Democrats and veteran SCDC members.
Mr. Hay didn’t attend Thursday’s meeting.
Voting was strained and followed arguments on policy and procedure with Ms. Heary asking Secretary Linda Cross of Carlisle to read the number of weighted votes for each of 45 votes cast.
It quickly became clear Ms. Heary would be the new chair—and the first woman elected.
“I don’t even have to add them up to tell you Theresa Heary has been elected chair of the Democratic Committee,” Ms. Cross said.
Ms. Heary will fill out the second half of Mr. Hay’s two-year post, which means she’s chair until September 2022.
Ms. Cross, Vice Chairs Sandy Manko of Sharon and Phil Skowfoe Jr. of Fulton, and Treasurer Rich Shultes of Middleburgh, elected in September 2020, will also serve until September 2022.
Ms. Manko ran Thursday’s meeting until the election; afterwards, she offered her seat at the dais in the Board of Supervisors’ meeting room to Ms. Heary.
Ms. Heaty declined, urging everyone to “make a big circle, because we’re going to be inclusive.”
“It feels so much better to be looking around at people,” she continued. “I’m excited to see what these meetings will look like…we are going to change things for Democrats in Schoharie County.”
Ms. Heary then named four ad hoc committees and chairs: Communications—Jerrine Corallo; Membership & Organizing—Jessica Hartjen; Campaign & Fundraising—Joe Bozicevich; and Social—Bobbi Wilding.
Ms. Heary’s goals include increasing the SCDC’s online and social media presence—something Gail Shaffer of Blenheim, former supervisor, Assemblywoman, and Secretary of State called her out on.
“So the Democratic Committee has decided only people with internet at home can participate in democracy?” Ms. Shaffer said.
“It sounds very Republican.”
Democrats then decided that might be a good first project for the Communications Committee: surveying members to see how they’d like to be contacted and then compiling a centralized list of phone numbers and emails.