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Democrat Declares Candidacy For Niskayuna Town Supervisor

Niskayuna Supervisor Yasmine Syed, Board Member Lisa Weber
Composite photo by Dave Lucas (www.niskayuna.org)
Niskayuna Supervisor Yasmine Syed, Board Member Lisa Weber

In the Schenectady County Town of Niskayuna, the race is on for supervisor.

Democratic Town Board member Lisa Weber has launched a campaign challenging first-term Republican Yasmine Syed.   "You know we've had a difficult year in the past year since the present supervisor took office in the beginning of 2018. It's a lack of cohesiveness. The department heads aren't meeting on a regular basis anymore. Staff is looking more outside to the town board members who aren't in town hall every day for guidance that should come from the supervisor’s office and I'd really like to restore that leadership," said Weber.

A bitter 2017 campaign labeled Syed “too extreme for Niskayuna,” yet she handily defeated 10-year incumbent Joe Landry, who is currently on the way to appointment as Schenectady County's new director of public works.

Democrats paint a picture of Syed as "an absentee supervisor who doesn't have the experience to do the job properly." Here's Syed:   "Voters repudiated these types of insults and the last election and in the conversations that I have with residents. They think this type of negative talk isn't fruitful. I left my private sector position to take on the Niskayuna Town supervisorship full-time. Quite often my workday spans from 7 in the morning until 7 at night and includes weekends. I’m proud of my tireless work ethic and I'm proud of all that has been accomplished during my administration such as increasing transparency with live streaming of our meetings, passing a budget with no tax increase and fostering initiatives like a Town Farmers Market."

The lone Republican on the board in the town of about 21,000 residents, Syed recently made headlines when she eliminated $5,000 budgeted for three public access television channels used by the town. Syed says residents wanted something more convenient and accessible than cable, and the feedback has been positive.

Weber sees progress through a different lens.   "We have accomplished quite a bit on the town board from investing in infrastructure to keeping the taxes level and we've been doing a tax increase in 2018 and I'm looking forward to building on the progress we've made and moving forward."

Weber says she has more political experience and is deeply rooted in the local community. If elected she promises to attend to a "funding crunch" affecting the town.

Syed says she’s two steps ahead of Weber:    "Unfortunately, her comments do nothing to advance the interests of our town, especially when we should be focusing on restoring the Aid and Incentives for Municipalities funding that was cut from the governor's budget and could have an immediate impact on our town’s reserve funds if it's not restored, I've been working with our assemblyman and state senator to get this accomplished and to have this funding restored immediately."

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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