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Cohoes Mayoral Field Keeps Growing As Opponents Target Embattled Mayor

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Another candidate has joined the race for mayor of Cohoes.

Cohoes Councilman Steve Napier threw his hat in the ring Monday afternoon in front of his Manor Avenue home. Napier joins fellow Democrats Bill Keeler and current Mayor Shawn Morse heading toward the June primary in the Albany County city.    “I never imagined that I would be standing in front of you as an openly gay young man and a first-generation college student from a family that wasn’t rich or powerful, it seemed impossible, but here I stand before, the great-great-great grandson of immigrant mill-workers who couldn’t read or write, but they worked long hours in the Harmony Mills for little pay, and they lived right here, in this house.”

Napier, who is 35, is nearing the end of his first four-year term as 5th ward councilman. He wants to impose term limits on councilors and the mayor. He promises an end to nepotism.    “I will usher in sweeping ethics reform that curbs the power of the mayor. Hear this: that means as your mayor I will sign legislation that will effectively limit my own power. Those reforms include strengthening anti-nepotism standards because government is not a family business and you will never see a member of my family on the city payroll. Sorry guys (family members laugh). I will make the appointment of city court judges subject to council approval, because the impact of a judge on a person's life is immeasurable and their selection is too important to be left in the hands of just one individual, even if that individual is me.”

Napier's vision for Cohoes entails an overhaul of long-time City Hall policies.   "The board of managers is intended to be a daily check on the power of the mayor. Currently though, three of the five members of that board serve at the pleasure of the mayor. That doesn't make sense. They're supposed to say 'no' to the person who signs their paychecks?  I will empower the board of managers to serve as a true check on the mayor by making their appointment subject to council approval as well."

Napier's supporters include Albany City Treasurer Darius Shahinfar, now a candidate for county comptroller, and former Troy Mayor Lou Rosamilia:   “It's about the city and his dedication to the city. I think Steve has a good chance because of his experience of how to run a campaign. Steve was very instrumental in my run back in 2011 for mayor,” said Rosamilia.

Another Democrat, former Cohoes City Treasurer Peter Frangie, tells WAMC that he too is running for mayor, but is waiting to make a formal announcement Thursday.

Campaign consultant Libby Post believes Napier can win.   "He's got great roots in the community. He's been successful in the past and you know he's a hard worker. And so I think that he's got as good a  shot as anybody does, and I think he even maybe has a better shot."

The primary election is June 25th. Mayor Shawn Morse is seeking a second term.

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