Jim LoFranco, Mayor of South Blooming Grove, Wins with 72% of Vote
By Edie Johnson
In a contentious and hard-driven campaign for Mayoralty of the Village of South Blooming Grove, Jim LoFranco, who sat as a trustee for 3 years and then became Deputy Mayor and later Mayor, took the vote lead at 71.57% and won handily against former Washingtonville Mayor Kevin Hudson. Both candidates had teams that did extensive door-to-door campaigning. LoFranco stood fast trying to stand on a record of honesty and integrity throughout the first months, ignoring what he later called Hudson’s untrue insults and allegations and emphasizing what he said was his goal, to “keep the campaign positive”. But 2 weeks before election day he shot back at Hudson with allegations of his own. LoFranco’s team of trustees also chalked up almost 500 votes each (Jim Mullany PF 495, Sue Anne Vogelsburg PF 488, John Ross, unexpired, 503), while the Hudson team (Kevin Hudson at 201) and trustee candidates stayed at slightly over 200 (Joe Murphy at 213, Tim-Sum Shum 200).
The most contentious issue of the campaign was use of the Preserve Blooming Grove name. Having been used by a local grassroots group for about a year and a half, the group interviewed candidates, attended and spoke at public meetings, developed an online presence and promoted certain candidates including Jim LoFranco. During the campaign Kevin Hudson took the name (as well as four similar names like United Preserve Blooming Grove, Preserve South Blooming Grove) registered himself and Joe Murphy as officials of the groups, declared that they were endorsed by Preserve Blooming Grove and that anyone else using it could be litigated, and posted nearly identical signs, with the exception of the candidates’ names. The original grassroots group believes that their presence and online usage gives them certain rights. John Salka, one of the group’s leaders, said “Certainly we will explore legal options at this time to keep our group’s good name.”
The South Blooming Grove Village Hall and Firehouse was a-buzz on election day, especially during the evening hours, despite the forecast of an impending snowstorm.
Of the Village’s total population (estimated at nearly 4,000), LoFranco said that only about half of that population is registered to vote, so there is much more to be done toward community cohesion and voting power. But the 707 residents that did vote are inching toward 50% of those registered, and he considers that to be a good sign.
LoFranco’s said his primary goals at present for his constituency are to continue to tackle some infrastructure issues since both water and sewer pipes some of which date back to the 50’s. He also plans to emphasize public safety, enforcing the new property maintenance and signage laws, and overseeing several new commercial projects that add tax revenue to the village.
Kevin Hudson commented to the Orange County Post as we go to press:
“I’ve been sounding the alarm for over 10 years, and no one seems to still be listening. The next couple of years will prove that what I said was right. The despicable campaigning from the opposition team distracted from the real issues that should be of concern to residents. ”
“They did what they have done, and now I’m going to do what we’re going to do.”