Who's running in Yates County's Republican primaries?

Yates County Board of Elections

Competition for Republican slots on the 2021 General Election Ballot heats up in two races. While local primaries in Yates County are less frequent than elsewhere in the state, there are occasional primaries between candidates in the Republican Party. Elections for local offices are in the odd numbered years, except in some cases for town justices. Statewide and federal primaries occur in even numbered years, and in those years there are often primaries in the Democratic Party.

Yates County Legislature for Milo

This year, in the town of Milo, six Republican candidates will compete to be on the ballot for four seats on the Yates County Legislature. Three are incumbents and three are new, having been brought out in part by the retirement of long-time legislator from the Himrod election district, P. Earl “Duddie” Gleason.

Winners of this primary will face off against four Democratic candidates. There are no different independent candidates, while one Republican candidates is also running on an independent line.

Sean Ahearn, challenger:


"I have been a resident of Yates County for 17 years and for nine years been the owner of a successful local business, employing 16 area residents. I have also been a Celebrate Recovery Ministry leader, Adjutant of the Sons of the American Legion, Post 355, a member to the same post’s Auxiliary, and been involved with various county jail ministry programs.

"My wife and son are both Air Force veterans. Our daughter is a counselor and peer advocate for Mental Health issues. Another daughter is a paralegal in an attorney’s office. Another son is employed at Corning glass, manufacturing high grade telescope lenses, and last our other family member is a 3-year-old Golden Retriever named Blanche.

"My background, while not in politics, is a blend of upper management positions in companies such as McDonalds, Toys ‘R’ Us, Party City, and HEP Sales. In all these companies I have achieved promotions for myself and subordinates by creating and accomplishing goals, guidelines and policies for the betterment of individuals and the company as a whole.

"I am steadfast in my belief of law and order, public safety, community development balanced with support of committed green space. A big part of our economy is based in tourism, so focus in this area is paramount to our financial health, especially with state budget issues we have faced in the past.

"Making policy decisions should involve information and facts about all of our residents as well as study of the impacts on them. I believe in being transparent, honest, and forthcoming with all information about land use, law changes and policies. Any proposed changes should be available for public scrutiny and input."

Daniel Banach, incumbent: 


"I have lived my entire life in the Village of Penn Yan and the Town of Milo, raising my family here. I graduated from the Penn Yan Academy and attended Williamsport Tech and the Rochester Institute of Technology.

"I retired from a long career as a salesman many years ago and began taking an active role in local government decision making and listening to public concerns as a Village Trustee and a County Legislator. Having served in most every committee as Trustee or Legislator, I have an extensive knowledge of what types of programs and procedures are necessary, feasible and economically sound. I pride myself in making some really tough decisions and keeping a close watch on the taxpayer’s money.

"With this experience and public service motivation, I feel that I have a lot to add in all matters coming before the County Legislature, especially the annual and capital budgets. I enjoy meeting constituents and taking their ideas or suggestion forward as decisions are made. 

"As in the past terms, I will do my best to protect the quality of life we enjoy in Yates County and continue to improve the quality of government.

"We have a lot to consider as we go into 2022. We have to do something to repair, improve or replace our 45 year old Jail and our 75 year old Highway barns. We have put these discussions and improvements off for too long."

Carlie Chilson, incumbent: 


"I would like to express my sincere gratitude for all of the citizens in Yates County, Milo District who have supported me over the past 4 years as I served in the position of your legislator. It has been a challenging two years for all of us as we worked our way through the COVID 19 pandemic.

"For those of you who don’t know my background, while raising four children as a single mother I pursued a higher education late in life and obtained a Masters Degree in Occupational Therapy from Keuka College. With the desire to give back to our community, you elected me to represent you as your Milo District Legislator and have served for four year on the Human Service and Government Operation committees.

"Thank you for trusting me to be your Representative for the past four years. While working through the COVID-19 pandemic and during the pandemic hiring freeze, I supported Public Health staffing needs so they could continue to help you with vaccines and contact tracing. I demonstrated a strong commitment to the core values of law and order, worked to keep social issues at bay and was a strong voice to bring out full disclosure on projects that would impact the daily lives of the children and families in our community.

"I was proactive in bringing you the opportunity to change the legislative term to a 4 year, staggered term. This allows continuity and encourages new candidates to consider running for the position. Thank you for voting for this change. I proactively worked with Yates Substance Abuse Council, Yates County planner and Zoning officers to become aware of the need for zoning, due to the recently passed state adult use marijuana law. I advocated for the needs of our Veterans and volunteered at the American Legion, in honor of my father, Carl Heisner, a Korean War Veteran. As a member of the Lions Club, advocated for our community's need for ramps to allow individuals to access their homes safely. I have served with our Youth Board, Republican Committee and Penn Yan American Legion Auxiliary have been an active member of Yates County Scope. And last but not least, managed our family run, organic fruit farm.

"Thank you for your prayers and support, communication about your concerns, and for your vote. With your continued support, I will stand strong as your Milo District, Yates County Legislator."

Leslie Church, incumbent:


"For the past 22 years, I have lived in Yates County, serving in various public offices, serving in the community and have been part of a small business. I was first elected to the Yates County Legislature a decade ago and have served as Chair of the Public Safety and Human Services Committees. I also devoted considerable time as member of the County Broadband Committee that has resulted in greater access to the Internet for businesses and individual residents. Remarkably, in 2018, I was the first woman chosen to be Vice Chair of the Legislature.

"In 2012, following many years of service on the Town of Milo Planning Board, I was elected the town’s first female Supervisor. I continue to serve in that position. As Supervisor and member of the town planning board, I worked on many shared initiatives between the County and the Towns.

"My priorities are to continue to do what I can to preserve a safe and healthy community and to advance the quality of life for the people of Yates County."

Mark Morris, challenger:


"I am a former Yates County Legislator 2010-2017, where I served on several committees (Finance, Government Operations (Chair), Human Services, Marcellus Shale, Audit, Western New York Inter-County, Finger Lakes Economic Development Council, & Yates/Schuyler Consolidation)

"I am a lifelong Republican and Conservative, with knowledge & energy to dedicate to improving our government. I routinely attended Milo Town Board & Penn Yan Village Board meetings since 2010 & many area improvement activities. I am a member of the YC Chamber of Commerce, SCOPE, Farm Bureau, Elks, American Legion (Son of), Eastman Kodak Retiree Association, and the Keuka Community Baptist Church

"I am a resident of Milo and a third generation Finger Lakes property owner. I have been married 47 years with two grown children and two grandchildren. I retired from Kodak after 33 years, with experience in engineering, project management, maintenance, and procurement overseeing many varied groups of personnel. Gained significant experience in leading organizations to do more with less using proven business methods. I obtained a BS and MS in Engineering and an MBA from Clarkson and the University of Rochester; and am a Professional Engineer-NYS, Project Management Professional and a Quality Management Black Belt.

"I want to help do the best we can for Yates County within NY State constraints. I am a strong advocate of protecting the Finger Lakes environment. I want to use my recent leadership experiences with the significant challenges in the environmental areas to best serve YC citizens. I am the Vice President of the Finger Lakes Regional Watershed Alliance and a co-founder. I have also served on the Keuka Lake Association Board (past VP) & Committees and the Seneca-Keuka 9E Plan oversight Committee (Harmful Algal Blooms)."

Megan Wilkinson, challenger:


"Originally from Hammondsport, I have been a resident and property owner in the Village of Penn Yan since 2016 with my husband, stepson and two dogs. Even in these five years, the progress happening across the county has been dramatic and visible to me. I credit this to the residents’ commitment to the community and the support of the Yates County Legislature. I’m part of a new generation of community leaders that wants to see this work continue and carry it into the future. I enjoy supporting the community through patronage of local businesses and events, hosting and conducting litter clean up walks and recently becoming a member of the Board of Directors for the Friends of the Outlet.

"Outdoor recreation brings people to our community throughout the seasons, therefore continued support of natural and recreational resources is imperative to ensure continuing success for the local economy. I’m committed to supporting off-season recreational options to bring together families, friends, businesses and the community as a whole to increase not only business operations but also our quality of life as a community during the long winter months. Part of this is achieved through grants from the Tourism Advisory Committee (TAC) which are funded from funds generated from shares of the Bed Tax (Occupancy Tax). I would like to increase the portion of the Bed Tax that the TAC receives so that more projects in our community, like those supporting natural and recreational resources, can be funded to increase the attraction of tourists to our area - after all, tourism is one of the greatest contributors to the growth of our local economy.

"As 12-year veteran in the field of defense contracting serving as the Director of Operations, I continually prepare bid proposals and costing for contracts with operating ceilings ranging from a few million to $60+ million. I also maintain the daily bookkeeping and financials for the Company and prepare the monthly, quarterly and annual financials as well as forecast and set budgets and make necessary adjustments to ensure we remain within bounds with the spending limits.

"These responsibilities, in conjunction with simultaneous site management across multiple states are what I believe provide me with the knowledge, insight and tools necessary to review, analyze and make sound judgements and decisions regarding county use of taxpayer dollars. It also helps keep policy making in line with sound, fiscally responsible goals that will lead the county to positive growth.

"The COVID crisis has revealed some new economic and business trends that I believe we can exploit by apply our community’s strengths. We can attract the ever growing demographic of the work-from-home professional, like myself, to resettle and raise their families in our community. I plan to use these same community strengths to help address the growing labor shortage currently affecting our local economy.

"I will continue to have conversations with community members and business owners to learn about their concerns and help address them; both as a member of their community and of the legislature. I believe I can provide diligent and honest representation if elected. I intend to ensure the best interests of the community are represented and help build greater voter confidence in their county government."

Starkey Town Justice

In Starkey, two Republican candidates for Town Justice will face off for the chance to be on the general election ballot in the fall and face a nominated Democratic party candidate. Both of these candidates in the June 22 primary have family connections to former justices in Dundee or the Town of Starkey. The combined Village and Town Justice office was open following the death earlier this year of incumbent Helen Halbritter.

Carrie Wood, candidate


"I am a licensed Insurance Agent for the Douglas B. Miles Agency in Dundee, and a long-time resident, property owner, and small business owner in the Town of Starkey and Village of Dundee.

"My husband, Chris, and I have been married over 20 years and have two children. Our daughter graduated from Dundee Central School in 2020 and is currently serving in the United States NAVY. Our son is an honor student at Dundee High School.

"For many years, I have been very involved in volunteering for the community. My past and present organizations include: Girl & Boy Scouts, Little League, Yates County Soccer, Dundee Parents Advisory Council, Dundee Area United Fund, and the Dundee Marching Band - Color Guard. Our family has also volunteered for and hosted Fresh Air children since 2004.

"I am currently the appointed Starkey Town Justice and already have the necessary training requirements and credentials to continue the job after election. I will serve as Justice with integrity and impartiality while being fair but firm in what is right and lawful."

Stacey Seeley, candidate


"I am a 39-year-old business owner here in Dundee, a mother of a 13-year-old boy, Brody, who keeps me on my toes but brings me more joy than I ever imagined through his humor and his overall creativity. My fiancé, Jason, has stuck with me through this crazy thing we call life for the last 24 years I'm just a normal person — a real person with a sense of humor that helps find the good in this ever-changing crazy world.

"I have spent my life in Dundee working hard to get where I am. I pride myself in my hard work ethic, integrity, and perseverance. I have always been very goal oriented and shot for the stars both professionally and personally. In 2001, I graduated from Dundee Central School, as well as Finger Lakes Technical & Career Center, where I graduated with honors in Cosmetology. I have been in the beauty industry for 22 years. I was a Network Educator for Bumble & Bumble in Manhattan, New York. I am a Color Specialist with Goldwell New York and a KMS of California Haircutting Artist. I operate my own business.

"I continue every day to further my education and enjoy learning new things- proving I am not afraid of a challenge! We all work hard every day trying to make ends meet or trying to better ourselves — I am no different. Becoming the Starkey Town Justice will give me the opportunity to continue learning but also help keep our community safe and just. This position has very special meaning to me. I grew up knowing and understanding what it means to have the title of a justice in our town. We have had strong and respectable women in this position and I have had the pleasure of learning a lot from them growing up. My mother, The Honorable Paula Seeley, shaped me into the person I am today, never knowing that she was preparing me possibly for this opportunity. As many learn from their mothers, I too learned a lot, but as the previous Village Justice it meant a lot to see and hear her words on fairness, kindness and respect — 'You get what you give.'

"This town deserves someone who can give them what they need and mean it. Our world is changing around us, even in this small town, yet this position continues to need someone with integrity, perseverance & understanding, love for our community, but also readiness to learn and embrace the opportunity for a challenge. Change is an opportunity for growth — it cannot be feared. I am ready to take on this opportunity, to grow, learn and do what needs to be done just like I have proven to do before in my profession. I am passionate and willing and ready for this next step in my future. Vote Stacey Seeley for Starkey Town Justice."