Race For Colonie Town Supervisor Heats Up
The race for Colonie Town Supervisor is heating up following Paula Mahan’s announcement early this year that she will not seek an eighth term.
Mahan, a Democrat, has led the Albany County town of about 80,000 since 2008.
In February, the Colonie Democratic Committee endorsed Kelly Mateja, a political newcomer, in hopes of keeping the supervisor’s office in Democratic hands. Mateja says the burgeoning town has "big issues coming down the line and big decisions to make."
“With my background in urban planning, I have my master's in urban planning, I worked as a planner for the town for eight years, almost nine years. Also my background in aging services, I work for Colonie senior service centers as their director of programs and services for five years, managing large programs. I really feel that I have the background and the skills and the ability to pull the right team together to address these challenges.”
In March, the town Republican Party announced Peter Crummey was stepping down as town justice to run for supervisor.
“I find it exciting to participate and to lead moving our town forward, to recover from the pandemic, and address the needs that are facing town government, as we as we speak, including our infrastructure, public safety, and our recreational areas, all which are deserving of leadership at this particular time. And I look forward to having the opportunity to provide that to the town residents. “
Mateja's plan for Colonie includes community outreach and resident participation in government.
“Number one is increasing communication and transparency. And then number two, that goes along with that, is making sure that we are doing that neighborhood level planning effort, to get right into a neighborhood and do an intensive, ‘what do you want your corner of Colonie to be? How should it look? What services do you need? What you know, retail or kind of job? What is it that we can do to support you to make your quality of life better in Colonie?’ Obviously that's going to be a very different answer. In the Roessleville neighborhood, then it's going to be in the Boght Corners neighborhood.”
Crummey says if elected, he'll immediately create a transition team and begin tackling the town's most pressing issues, leading with its aging infrastructure.
“We have to start bringing more roads up to speed. We'll have to increase the number of miles we're doing a year, in connection with federal monies that may be flowing to municipalities this year from the Washington administration as part of a pandemic comeback. I would be dedicating those funds to our infrastructure. Colonie is slated to receive approximately $8 million, some needs to be shared with the two villages that are wholly within our town, Menands and Colonie village. And, of course, that should be done as soon as those funds arrive.”
Crummey says he has the edge when it comes to experience, including 21 years on the bench and time as a county legislator and town attorney.
“I've been elected nine times for public office by the citizens of Colonie over the past 30 years. My record of performance is well known by the citizens of the town of Colonie or to a majority anyway, and I certainly rest on my record and I want to bring that capacity and that knowledge of town hall and town government and relationships with county officials and state officials, for the benefit of the citizens of the town of Colonie.”
Mateja says she reflects the town's political vibrancy.
“I love to think that people in Colonie are engaged in the process. Certainly last year, we had amazing turnout for the 2020 election in Colonie. My hope is that people will maintain that level of engagement.”
Both candidates say they are regularly in touch with Supervisor Mahan and both look forward to participating in public forums and debates, heading toward November.