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Election Night Brings Changes To Several Municipalities

Voting booths
Pat Bradley

On Election Night, control of several municipalities in the Northeast changed hands.

Rensselaer County Legislature Chair Mike Stammel will now wear two hats following his election to become Rensselaer city mayor.   "Before I went through this process I had sent a letter to the attorney general's office, sent them a copy of the Rensselaer charter as well as the county charter, and asked if it was permissible. And they sent me back and said 'there's no reason why you can't,' so that gave me a green light."

Credit Rensselaer County Legislature
Michael Stammel

The Republican will be filling out the unexpired third term of Mayor Dan Dwyer, a Democrat who died in November 2018 at age 84 after a battle with cancer. Stammel already has an agenda.   "Staying on top of this C&D Landfill at the Dunn dump is one of the issues. Another issue is I want to either get another volunteer ambulance in the city of Rensselaer or negotiate with one of the ambulances in the area to put themselves in Rensselaer. For us to wait in the city of Rensselaer for an ambulance to come from either North Allen Street in Albany or from Hoosick street in Troy, sometimes, because they're not they're not readily available, can be a matter of life and death. And we deserve better than that."

Stammel beat Acting Mayor Rich Mooney, the former city council president, who did not return a call for comment.

Forty minutes down river, Hudson elected its first African American mayor:  "This is something I've wanted to do since I was 15 years old," said Kamal Johnson, who won with 70 percent of the votes, 926 to 395, against incumbent Rick Rector in a replay of the June 25th Democratic primary. Although Rector lost that contest, he stayed in the race on the Republican, Conservative and Independence parties.

Republican Niskayuna Town Supervisor Yasmine Syed has won a second two-year term, easily defeating Democratic Town Board member Lisa Weber. Syed won reelection with about 58 percent of the vote.

Challenger Michael Cinquanti defeated first-term Mayor Michael Villa
Credit WAMC
In Amsterdam, Challenger Michael Cinquanti defeated first-term Mayor Michael Villa.

Mayor Vincent DeSantis will stay on in Gloversville - he was appointed in January after Mayor Dayton King resigned from office after pleading guilty to misconduct.   DeSantis, who also ran on the Gloversville Party line, handily defeated Libertarian party candidate Dale Hank McGrath.

In Amsterdam, Democrat Michael Cinquanti defeated first-term incumbent Republican Mike Villa 57 to 43 percent, according to unofficial results.

Bill Keeler will be the next mayor of Cohoes, succeeding the embattled Shawn Morse, who left the post in August after pleading guilty to wire fraud in federal court. Keeler won 84 percent of the vote. Steve Napier, who was on the ballot but endorsed Keeler in June following the pivotal four-way Democratic primary, garnered 15 percent of the vote.

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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