With The Mayor Reelected And A New Common Council President, Albany Begins New Political Era
Democratic incumbents Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan and Colonie Town Supervisor Paula Mahan cruised to victories in this week's elections. Here is a peek at what comes next in local government.
Sheehan was in a strong position to earn a second four-year term after winning the Democratic primary in September, and sure enough, she netted north of 70 percent of Tuesday's votes, besting three challengers.
"We spent a lot of time investing in technology, to allow us to deliver better services and to get a better handle on our finances. We re-zoned the entire city so that we could make it easier for our homeowners and businesses to invest and we really looked at how we deliver city services and have worked to ensure that we're doing all that we can to deliver those in a fair and equitable way," said Sheehan, who counts the city community policing initiative among her administration's accomplishments. She intends to keep up the momentum.
"We have demonstrated that when it comes to community policing, there is no end, you know, you don't walk away and say 'mission accomplished.' This is a constant outreach and the constantly working on that relationship between our police department our city is ever-changing and so we can't ever become static. We have as we know a growing immigrant population that speaks dozens of languages and so we've gotta be able to respond to that. And it's not just our police department. It's our fire department who are first responders. It's how we respond to that here in city hall and what we make accessible from the standpoint of language access. So this is something that I think we have really worked hard to say we're in these jobs because we're here to serve the community, so we've gotta be out in the community."
The numbers for second-in-command Common Council president were even more dramatic, with Corey Ellis pulling nearly 84 pecent of the vote against challenger Mark Robinson, who lost to Ellis in the September primary and appeared on the Conservative Line for the general election. Ellis had the backing of Sheehan, his 2013 primary opponent. "I look forward to working with Corey Ellis as Common Council president. I think that Corey brings a tremendous amount of community experience to the job."
Shakeups abounded on the Common Council as two high-profile incumbents, Ron Bailey of the Third Ward and Judd Krasher of the 11th were defeated by newcomers Joyce Love and Alfredo Balarin, respectively. Krasher says he accepts the voters' decision but isn't abandoning local politics. "This was just one election cycle. And we made a real dent in the machine. So, to be continued. And it's going to be an interesting next four years in the city of Albany. There's going to be a lot of challenges that the city's elected officials are going to face. It is up to us as citizens to hold each and every one of them accountable."
Albany's incumbent Democratic treasurer Darius Shahinfar won about 83 percent of the vote over Arbor Hill Republican Roberta Sims.
And there will be a new face on the Albany County Legislature: Democrat Victoria Plotsky defeated Republican Tim Stanton for the 38th district seat representing parts of the towns of New Scotland and Bethlehem. In the September primary she defeated Darrell Duncan, who had been appointed to the seat in January.
In the Town of Colonie, Town Supervisor Paula Mahan won a sixth term, beating Republican challenger Frank Mauriello of the County Legislature. During the campaign, Republicans had accused Mahan of fiscal management. "We are in the process of updating the 2005 Comprehensive Plan. Also the airport area GEIS study update. All of these that are coming together will force an opportunity to make some changes in the 2000 plan which my opponent worked on and be able to improve in some of the areas that need improvement."
Mahan says she has no doubts that her administration can calm issues that arose during the campaign including traffic and the landfill.