Clay 1995 Local Election

Posted on August 9, 2021

Didomenico And Rycraft 1995 Election 8 6 21

HISTORY MYSTERY:  Clay 1995 Local Election


As a Memorial for these two Town of Clay officials, Supervisor Patrick DiDomenico and Councilor Clarence “Rye” Rycraft, here are some memories of the November 1995 local Clay election.  Before campaigning began, the local Eagle Newspapers printed “Review Campaign Policies.”  The Review stated they wanted to ensure that the election was covered in a way that was fair to candidates and voters.  Letters endorsing candidates were welcome; those criticizing would be shown to that person first.  Criticisms at forums would be passed on to that person to review before printing or reporting.


Running on the Democratic ticket were: Jennifer Downing seeking the town clerk position and the others seeking town councilor positions were:   Carol Turiello, a registered nurse and vice-chair of the Clay Democratic Committee.  She said that Clay’s biggest problem was “Without Don McLaughlin on the Town Board, only one viewpoint would be represented; “I plan to be a team player.”   Kelly Christian, a wife and mother, researcher and media liaison.  To her a major problem was a lack of police for such a large town area; plus bad road conditions and a need for a speed zone reconditioning.   Charles C. Spagnoli, lawyer and member of county and Town of Clay Democratic Committees.  Problem to him was Clay’s recent growth spurt which upset the balance between a family-oriented community and an entity interested in economic development.  “I propose we revisit the Clay Master Plan; and strengthen Clay’s Park System.”


Those running on the Republican ticket for Clay Town Councilor were: 

   Mark J. Rupprecht, a legislative aide to Assemblyman Harold C. Brown Jr., former North Syracuse Village Trustee 1989 to 1994, and staff assistant to U. S. Rep. James Walsh from 1989 to 1994.  To Mark, the biggest problem was recruitment and retention of commercial development.  “Clean commercial growth allows the town to keep the tax rate low for home owners.  The town is currently updating its zoning ordinances and has just authorized soil testing at the Caughdenoy Industrial Park so that it will be ready to break ground for a new tenant.”


   Clarence “Rye” Rycraft. (Photo on right), Retired audit manager, five years on Clay Planning Board, and was first elected to Clay Town Board in 1992.  Here he was liaison to Finance Dept. and member of the Industrial Development Committee.  He had been involved in the CNY Regional Planning - Development Board and a member of many other organizations delivering pubic services. As for problems, “Clay has administrators, and seasoned councilors and others to anticipate problems and available for their advice.”  “Interests that come to mind are affordable senior housing, creating an industrial park and work on the canal recreation plan.”


   James Rowley, BA from Clarkson University and MBA from Syracuse University; member of Clay Republican Committee and Onondaga County Republican Committee.   He was seeking election to his first term.  He had had 12 years of professional accounting experience as a controller in a firm and was a member of the Institute of Management Accountants and treasurer of a local Federal credit Union.  He was involved with the Fairway East Homeowners Association, Liverpool Optimists and Liverpool Jaycees.  The biggest problem for the town he felt were the taxes that should be attributed to the county and the local school districts.  “I will resist raising taxes at every opportunity to fund programs once funded by state and county governments.”


Patrick M, DiDomenico. (Photo on the left). Reelection as Town of Clay Supervisor, had already served 13 years as supervisor and on the Clay Town Board since 1973.  He was unopposed and felt it was the result of the settlement with the Onondaga County Solid Waste Authority, the creation of a local board of ethics, the initiation of changes in the town zoning ordinances and the attention of development along Route 31.  Stability was his goal all those years. Patrick’s philosophy he said was that “the essential purpose of town government is to maintain and improve public works projects such as roads, sewers. Water, drainage and parks and to provide a clean and safe environment for residents in a non-intrusive manner.  The combined managerial and legislative aspects of the supervisor office require a candidate who is alert, experienced, concerned and accountable.”  He was always involved in projects that benefited other towns and municipalities, as well.


Many organizations and social groups held “Meet the Candidates” affairs.  The two most often raised questions were:  The Town’s Masterplan for Development; and the Town’s Plan for Police Protection.


Both official’s in the two photos, Town Supervisor DiDomenico and Town Councilor Rycraft, have passed away, but they left behind memories of the tremendous achievements they accomplished for Clay.


Dorothy Heller, Historian


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