Philipstown Democrats Announce Slate of 2021 Candidates

“Moving Philipstown Forward” — Van Tassel leads ticket as Town Supervisor candidate; Montgomery seeks reelection to County Legislature

Philipstown, NY, March 1, 2021 The Philipstown Democrats have voted to endorse a slate of candidates who will keep Philipstown moving forward in the coming years.

The candidates include:

  • John Van Tassel is the candidate for Philipstown Town Supervisor.
  • Megan Cotter and Jason Angell are seeking first terms on the Philipstown Town Board.
  • Nancy Montgomery will seek reelection to the Putnam County Legislature.
  • As previously announced, incumbent Sheriff Robert Langley will also seek reelection.

“We’re delighted to endorse this lineup of strong candidates, who are committed moving Philipstown, and the entire county, forward,” said Janice Hogan, Philipstown Democrats chairperson. “Adding to our endorsement of Sheriff Langley last month, Nancy, John, Megan and Jason hold the ideals and experience we need for serving all constituents of District 1 and Putnam County.”

Be it economic growth, education or sustainability, working families, seniors and youth, each candidate in the Democratic slate upholds an unmatched understanding and allegiance to the community. 

John Van Tassel — Town Supervisor

Van Tassel, a lifelong Cold Spring resident, has been an active member of the community, business owner and member of the North Highlands Fire Department for decades.

"I am rooted here by several generations and want to make sure Philipstown is as great a place to work and live for my two sons as it has been for me," Van Tassel said.

Van Tassel has served 12 years on the Town Board, two as deputy supervisor. He is the current liaison to the Zoning Board and former liaison to Recreation and Highway departments. He is also on the buildings and grounds committee overseeing the restoration/upgrade of the Town Hall and the soon-to-start highway garage.

His service with the local volunteer fire company and ambulance corps runs four decades. He began participating as a volunteer firefighter in the North Highlands Fire Company as a teenager. He rose thru the ranks to fire chief and was elected to the fire district board.

In what seemed a natural progression, Van Tassel was asked to run for a seat on the Town Board in 2009, which he easily won.

Over the years, he has served the needs of residents by taking on many leadership roles, including updating the Philipstown zoning code, enhancing the Philipstown Recreation services and facility, emergency services budgeting and management, renewable energy initiatives, as well as natural disaster and pandemic planning.

Van Tassel is a 1983 graduate of Haldane High School. His self-owned and operated business, JVT Construction, specializes in framing construction. He has coached Little League baseball and Pop-Warner football for nine years. He has been a member of the carpenters’ union since 1986 and is a 1993 graduate of the Nyack Hospital paramedic program.

Megan Cotter — Philipstown Town Board

Cotter is also a lifetime Cold Spring resident. She lives in the village with her husband and four young children. Professionally and as a volunteer, she has a proven track record of mobilizing positive change.

Preserving the fabric of our community while implementing smart change and development is the foundation for Cotter’s decision to run for Town Board.

“I was lucky enough to grow up in Philipstown and experience what makes this place so special: a caring, small community where neighbors help each other. I’m running for Town Board to carry this basic premise forward,” Cotter said.

A few areas of focus inspiring her candidacy are improving disability accessibility; improving the quality of life for Philipstown residents while fostering tourism; and broadening programming with the Philipstown Recreation Department. 

After receiving her Master of Public Health degree from New York Medical College, she was a Research Coordinator for Children’s & Women’s Physicians of Westchester, as well as a Healthcare Administrator at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell. She also spent eight years at the Therapeutic Equestrian Center as the director of healthcare. During that time, she implemented equine therapy in New York State through the Medicaid Care Act. To this day, people with developmental disabilities can get coverage through Medicaid for equine therapy.

After leaving the workforce for a few years, she’s recently returned as a compliance officer for healthcare professionals and small business owners on a national and local level. 

Being a mother of four has allowed Cotter to create relationships within the Garrison and Haldane Elementary community, including serving as class parent for three of her children’s classes, Boy Scout leader, Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) basketball coach and Philipstown Little League board member, in which she is spearheading and revamping the softball program.

For the past 11 years, Cotter has also organized the annual Cold Spring Turkey Trot, which draws seniors, families, young adults and even tourists.

“Running for Town Board feels like a natural next step for me. This position will allow me to connect with the community on a deeper level to ensure our policies, infrastructure and future planning provide the best quality of life, from seniors to our youth.”

Jason Angell — Philipstown Town Board

Since moving to Garrison full-time a decade ago to start Longhaul Farm on his grandfather’s land with his wife Jocelyn, Angell has engaged in expansive community work.

“There is a great deal of work to do to create a better community for ourselves and those who come after us, and there is no better place to get to work than our own backyards,” Angell said.

He and his wife created a small nonprofit organization, which helped lead the effort to establish a Hudson Valley CCA (Community Choice Aggregation) that effectively moved the Philipstown community to a renewable electricity supply. They also worked with community volunteers to develop the nonpartisan Philipstown Community Congress, which created a way for people to come together around shared priorities through a community-wide vote. In addition, they have partnered with the Town to lay the groundwork for our community’s efforts to fight climate change and joined the town’s effort to help address local economic and food insecurity exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Living and working on his farm, Angell and his wife are raising their two children while also caring for his parents next door.

“Like you, this is the place we have chosen to call home — it is the nature of this community and the relationships between the people in it that will shape the quality of our lives. We all have a collective interest in making it better,” Angell said. “All my experience has taught me the work of social change requires personally striving to live out our highest values and it is possible to hold true to your principles while listening to other perspectives.”

His vision for serving on the Town Board is to be a collaborator who creates:

  • A community where every single person suffering from social isolation or economic hardship is cared for.
  • A local economy that allows people to live and work here.
  • The opportunity to produce more of our own energy and food.
  • The chance to live healthier lives and have a say over the decisions that impact us.
  • New sources of revenue to support this good work.

Nancy Montgomery — Putnam County Legislature

Montgomery is a longtime resident of Cold Spring and is seeking re-election after serving on the Putnam County Legislature for one-term. Before that, she served on the Philipstown Town Board for 10 years.

“This election is about bringing change to Carmel as well as continuing my efforts for transparency, accountability and efficiency in Putnam County government,” Montgomery said.

Those efforts include:

  • Open, honest and transparent data and action around Putnam County’s COVID-19 response.
  • The politicalizing of the Sheriff’s Department that risks our health and safety.
  • Pulling back the curtain to eliminate the waste that diminishes the county’s capacity to deliver the high-quality services our residents deserve.
  • Sensible development that both promote economic development and protect the sensitive natural landscape of our towns.
  • Continuing to build coalitions of like-minded folks all across the county. People who want good government, accountability and excellent public services. Montgomery has made working alliances with folks in every town who know Putnam can be better and are willing to work to make it so.

“As County Legislator, I’m going to keep telling the truth so constituents and taxpayers can advocate for change along with me,” Montgomery said, “I will continue to stand up for human rights, environmental protection, sensible development and civility among neighbors, parties and in government.