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A Look At Plattsburgh’s Mayoral Candidates

Colin Read (left) and James Calnon
Candidates' Facebook pages
Colin Read (left) and James Calnon

With Election Day less than a week away, we take a look at the two candidates for mayor of Plattsburgh. While the candidates’ styles are different, both are focused on the city’s fiscal stability.
Plattsburgh incumbent Mayor James Calnon is seeking his second term.  He faces Democrat Colin Read, a local businessman and a professor of economics and finance at SUNY Plattsburgh.  Read says he’s running because this is a critical time for the city.  “I’d seen some progress in trying to revitalize our city but I still saw an awful lot of obstacles that I thought we could pretty easily overcome with just the right attitude. So I hoped to bring that into the race. And then as I delved into it more in consideration I started watching the finances of the city and that began to concern me. So I really felt that we just needed a little bit of a better, longer term set of planning to deal with some of the big issues with regard to the finances, the budget deficits, roads and sewers and water mains and these sorts of things.”

Independent/Republican-endorsed Mayor Calnon says a number of good things have started during his first term.  “We've actually started to do some development. Obviously we have, you know I point to things like the marina. We’ve done some good things at the beach. We’re continuing to work on things like that. And so I’m ah, I really want to keep that stuff going.”
The incumbent mayor often grimaces or sighs in response to his opponent’s statements.  While he says there’s no acrimony between the two, he is harshly critical of some of the plans.  “There were times during the campaign when my opponent was sticking to stories that just weren't true and I find that a little bit irritating. It's a little frustrating with a campaign where you use a slogan that says ‘Positively Plattsburgh’ and just constantly was pointing out things that were negative and I just found it irritating. And why do I think I'm the better candidate? I think it’s because I’ve actually shown that I can accomplish things. We both have vision. There isn't a question about that. I think that I have stronger leadership skills. I think they're well demonstrated. In fact even the fact that Democrats even considered not running someone against me speaks to my leadership skills.”

Meanwhile, as he discussed the down-ticket implications of the federal campaign, Read mentioned that the mayoral race has been a positive opportunity for policy discussions.  “This has probably been the most policy oriented mayoral debate we've had for some time. We’ve had a lot of different ideas and some really big looming issues for the future like how we spend the $10 million dollars and what we do to try to avoid a major tax increase. So that's motivating. I think actually there's reason to vote locally.”

The winner of Plattsburgh’s mayoral race will be sworn-in for four years rather than the previous two-year term.  It’s among the charter changes approved by the city council this year.  

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