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Jennings Exit Impacts Mayoral Race

Local Leaders Like Reform
Dave Lucas/WAMC
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Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings

This week, Albany was rocked by the news that longtime Mayor Jerry Jennings has opted not to seek a sixth term. But even before his official announcement Wednesday, the rest of the city’s political machine was already in motion.

It's a game changer for the mayoral hopefuls - and it will be difficult for even the most qualified among them to fill Mayor Jennings' shoes - the man himself knows this: he as much as said so during a meeting with the press the day after emailing his resignation letter.

News of the resignation sent shock waves through the city. It astounded Independent Democratic candidate Marlon Anderson and Conservative hopeful Joe Sullivan.

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Credit WAMC Photo / Dave Lucas
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July 2011 : Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings helps make history as he signs documents for a same-sex couple during midnight hour marriages at City Hall.

And "change" gives way to strategic planning. Jennings’ would-be successors suddenly find themselves with more to gain (or lose) than ever. Democratic Party-backed city Treasurer Kathy Sheehan told WAMC she's ready to meet change and challenge.

Democrat Corey Ellis, who captured 44 percent of the vote in the last mayoral primary in 2009, shares Jerry Jennings’ passion for education and believes in the mayor's role as "champion" of city youth.

Barbara Smith of the Albany Common Council told WAMC’s Alan Chartock that education is a critical component of city government. Smith added that the clock is running for the declared candidates, and although it has been suggested another candidate may enter the ring, it may be too late for anyone else to organize and launch a successful challenge.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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