Lakewood Mayor – A Comparison

Lakewood NY clock tower

There are two choices for Mayor of Lakewood. Ted McCague, who has been serving as Deputy Mayor for the past three years including fulfilling all responsibilities of the Mayor for the past year, and a fellow board member, Randy Holcomb, who is currently a trustee who is finishing his first term.

Both candidates are registered republicans. McCague is a relative newcomer to politics, having won his first full term and seat on the board two years ago, while Holcomb won his seat four years ago, and is a political veteran, who has maintained leadership roles in the local Busti Republican Committee for many years. Given these two facts, it should come as no surprise that the well oiled political wheels of the local republican caucus endorsed Holcomb, and shut out the newcomer (McCague), reportedly even closing the doors to the republican caucus while party members were still arriving to vote. Undeterred, Acting Mayor, McCague, sought the endorsement of the only other major party in New York State, despite his republican party membership.  The Democratic caucus participants voted to endorse McCague, due to his extensive experience and proven track record in leadership positions in Lakewood for many years, according to caucusing members. Therefore, on the ballot, voters will find McCague at the top, and Holcomb on the 2nd line.

The comparison of both candidates’ palm cards shows voters have two very different candidates to choose from.

The first lines on their cards are: “Deputy Mayor,” for McCague; compared to, “Life long resident of Lakewood,” for Holcomb. This implies that voters may decide their vote based on actual experience the candidate has doing the job he is seeking, or how long the candidate has lived in the village.  Aside from the top priority on the palm card, there are also many other differences between these two candidates.

Deputy Mayor McCague lists numerous community positions, beliefs, and accomplishments, and barely mentions his 30-year career as major airline pilot, while Trustee Holcomb relies on his professional background as a retired property assessor and political positions, rather than specific accomplishments for Lakewood.

For example, McCague highlights positions such as: Vice Chair, Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance; Vice President, Lakewood Community Development Corporation; Chairperson, Lakewood Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee; Chairperson, Lakewood Comprehensive Plan Implementation Committee; Chair, Lakewood Planning Board; also chairman on numerous Mayoral Committees since becoming a trustee.

McCague also states exactly what he has accomplished since becoming a Lakewood Trustee and Acting Mayor. These highlights include: lowered taxes while fully funding essential services; delivering a new Comprehensive Plan (40 years after the last one); delivering a first ever Mixed Use Analysis and Chautauqua Avenue Plan; using his law degree, drafting new main street design standards and zoning code as well as numerous zoning code updates (saving tax dollars in attorney fees); contributing to the committee to create the Lakewood-Busti Stormwater Engineering & Management Plan; and he’s been awarded the American Planning Associations highest recognition for Lakewood’s brand new Comprehensive Plan. Prior to all these accomplishments, he was also awarded the Lakewood Volunteer of the Year Award for all the volunteering he did prior to his appointment to becoming a Trustee.

Holcomb’s palm card presents his qualifications as his 38 year employment in the Town of Busti (as assessor), Vice chairman and past treasurer of the Busti Republican Committee, past President of the New York State Assessors’ Association, and lifelong member of the Gloria Dei Lutheran Church. His card also affirms goals and accomplishments “of Lakewood Candidates.” Curiously, his palm card does not list any specific accomplishments directly attributed to him.

Holcomb pledges Lakewood candidates promise: continued support of Lakewood Fire Department and Lakewood Busti Police Department; maintain quality of life in our local community; continue commercial development with appropriate oversight of Chautauqua and Fairmount Avenues; enhancement to Lakewood Parks, including Hartley Park, public dock, dog park and Community Park, LaGrega Park, and pickle ball courts; and support our fiscally conservative ideals. Interesting to note that Holcomb pledges to enhance Lakewood parks, however, he is on record voting against enhancements to Hartley Park.

McCague also clarifies his beliefs for voters on his card stating he believes in: fiscal responsibility; strong essential services; government efficiency; a strong business climate; and a healthy lake. In reviewing press releases, both candidates have different approaches to the position of Mayor. Holcomb speaks in broad terms expressing interest in continuing to bring new businesses and future construction to Lakewood and working with residents on key issues facing the community. McCague, offers more specific goals for continuing the progress in the village, with an eye to boosting the tax base. McCague says the village is doing well in planning, but there’s more to do. He hopes to target aging infrastructure and expand utilities to help with future development, and at the same time preserve historic properties to maintain the quaint quality of the village, maintain property values throughout the village, and therefore increase the desirability of Lakewood as a great place to live.