Candidates for mayor, trustee and village justice will run uncontested in this year’s Village of Walden election. John Ramos will soon take a two-year term as mayor while Lynn Thompson, Brian Sebring and John Elliott will begin their two-year terms as trustees. Veteran Village Justice Raynard Ozman will continue his position, serving another four-year term.
John Ramos, Walden’s deputy mayor, will succeed Susan Taylor as the village’s next mayor. He is running for the position, as he believes that there is a lot of unfinished business to attend to in the village.
During his first term as mayor, Ramos hopes to have the community center completed. He also hopes to enhance property values and fill the 27 vacant storefronts in Walden. As a father, he hopes to create a safe environment for the children in Walden. He plans to meet with administrators from Walden Elementary School and develop ways to enhance the school. He believes that the village is moving in the right direction.
“I see our village growing the right way,” Ramos said. “Our parks and rec. [programs] are growing to a point where people are gonna want to look at coming and moving to the Village of Walden. I want to foster that.”
He served as a Village of Walden trustee from October 2015 to October 2020. During his time as a trustee, the village strengthened its recreation and parks department as well as their programs for children. Many children’s programs were held online in 2020 and Ramos noted that the turnout was massive.
In October, Ramos was appointed deputy mayor after Faith Moore withdrew from the position to focus on family obligations. As deputy mayor, he helped to annex the Biagini property, a 36-37 acre vacant land on Route 52. Ramos believes this property will create homes for many families, which in turn will enhance property values throughout the entire village.
During his time as mayor, Ramos hopes to make Walden one of the safest municipalities in Orange County.
“We’ve had bad raps historically in the past. I want to click on where’s the best and safest places to live and I want to be in the top three at least in the county or even in the state.”
Brian Sebring is running for his fourth term as a Walden trustee because he loves his community.
“I just want to serve the public, as I do have a vested interest here so to speak, being a lifelong resident of Walden,” he said.
As a trustee, Sebring helped the village install a new garage for the Department of Public Works. During his time as trustee, the Village of Walden Summer Camp has flourished, having over 400 children some years. Over his next term, Sebring hopes to keep taxes low for village residents and help the board with anything that they come across.
Prior to serving as trustee, he was a planning board member from 2013 to 2015 and served as president of the Walden Ambulance Corps. Some of Sebring’s other affiliations include the Walden Community Council Veterans Park Committee as well as the Walden Harvest Fest Committee. He helped build the playground at Wooster Memorial Grove Park and assisted with modernizing Hudson Valley Honor Flight’s headquarters. Sebring continues to help his community by volunteering at the Town of Montgomery Food Pantry. He is excited to serve another term as village trustee, so he can continue to give back to the Village of Walden.
“[Walden] is a small village,” Sebring said. “The people are great. We’ve got a good community here and we’re growing rapidly over the years.”
John Elliott was appointed village trustee in November after Faith Moore resigned from the position. He is running in this year’s election, as he wants to make sure Walden continues to move forward.
“Financially we’re definitely stable and I’d like to see that continue,” Elliott said. “I think our departments are well-run. Our DPW is heading in the correct direction, they have no major issues. Same thing with our police department.
Everything’s running smoothly and I want to keep it that way.”
During his next term, he will push for the revitalization of Walden’s parks. Specifically, he hopes to improve Bradley Park by sprucing up the baseball fields.
Elliott has always given back to the Walden community, specifically to the youth population. He has coached Little League Softball and Cal Ripken Baseball in the village. He further assists Walden as a part-time janitor at Most Precious Blood School.
“I’d like to make sure that our community is always gonna be in good shape, so that our youth can succeed through sports and whatever else,” he said. “We need our community to be in good standing for everyone to benefit from it.”
Lynn Thompson is running for her third term as village trustee because she loves the challenge of the job and sees that there is much work to be done.
“As long as I can contribute in a positive way, I want to keep moving forward,” Thompson said. “There’s a lot of development in the Town of Montgomery.”
In 2020, the Village of Walden annexed two properties. The village is currently building its community center and is in the process of building a waterfront park with a boat launch at the foot of Pine and Maple Streets.
She was instrumental in getting the fluoride out of the village’s municipal water supply. Due to Thompson’s interest in environmental issues, Walden was the first municipality in Orange County to join the Wallkill River Watershed Alliance, a group that advocates for the restoration of the river. During her next term, she aims to move forward with the village to improve the quality of the Wallkill River as well as the Tin Brook.
Thompson also worked very hard to facilitate the village becoming part of the state’s Climate Smart Communities Program, which helps local governments take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a changing climate.
During her next term, Thompson hopes to fill empty storefronts with businesses, which will boost the local economy.
“We want to promote small businesses here in the village.”
Raynard Ozman has served as Walden’s Village Justice for over 20 years and aims to continue to preside over cases fairly.
“I am tough but I am experienced and fair in the administration of justice,” he said. “I have over 20 years of experience, presiding over 25,000 cases.”
He is part of multiple associations to maintain his competency in the law, such as the Orange County Magistrates Association, the Orange County Bar Association and the New York State Magistrates Association.
The Village of Walden Election will take place at Walden Village Hall, 1 Municipal Square, Walden on Tuesday, March 16 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.