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After Death Of Longtime Mayor Dan Dwyer, Rensselear Readies For Mayoral Race: Part Two

Republican Michael Stammel, chairman of the Rensselaer County Legislature
Republican Michael Stammel, chairman of the Rensselaer County Legislature

The next mayoral election in the city of Rensselaer will be missing a longtime fixture on the ballot. Yesterday, we spoke with the city’s new mayor. Now, Capital Region Bureau Chief Dave Lucas has part two of WAMC’s look at the race.

Republican Michael Stammel chairs the Rensselaer County Legislature and is challenging Democratic Mayor Richard Mooney for the city's top office. Mooney took over after longtime Democratic Mayor Dan Dwyer died last year and is seeking a full term in the city of about 10,000.

Stammel says he threw his hat in the ring because he believes city hall should "work for everybody." "If you look at the, read the newspapers and some of the concerns of the residents in the city that's not being addressed by members of the council or the administration, such as the Dunn Dump and the biotech plant that they wanna put down at the port. These are concerns that the people have about their quality of life."

Stammell has reservations when it comes to Mayor Mooney's "Resurgent Rensselaer" plans. He promises he'll offer more in the way of transparency.   "I love Rensselaer and I'm positive about it, it's future. But a true leader takes on tough issues as well as don't ignore them, and or think that the public will forget about them. And I believe that the current administration has done that. I'm not your average 'one and done' elected official that you only see during the election year. I keep the public informed all year long. There are issues that have been brought forth to me that have been ignored about resurgence for the volunteer fire department, which is now just taken place. It's been ignored for many years. The lack of an ambulance in the city of Rensselaer. I am pro-EMS and fire, that's my background."

Answering Mooney's claim of running a "campaign of positivity," Stammel says he'll run on his record as a public servant.   "I have over 20 years of governmental and institutional experience as a past Rensselaer city councilman, as council president, a legislator and I'm chairperson of the legislature, you know, I  do my part in overseeing the $347 million county budget. The city's budget is miniscule in comparison to that. I served on the Capital Regional Planning Commission, the Capital District Transportation Committee, and have served on the Commission of Economic Opportunity. These commissions funnel money to the city for major projects and I've been part of those, so I'm always giving it to the city. As far as the negative stuff goes, I'd rather not talk about the negative. I think some of Mr. Mooney's posts on Facebook and places like that have really, uh, some he's put on some he's taken down, really shows what kind of campaign he wants to run. I'm not gonna be part of that. I'm gonna run on my experience and my history and go from there."

Stammel adds he has established positive relationships with the Republican County Executive and sheriff and other county officials through his work as a legislator.

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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