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Either way, race for Colonie Town Supervisor will bring change

 Peter Crummey, Kelly Mateja
WAMC File Photos
Peter Crummey, Kelly Mateja

The election for Colonie Town Supervisor is one of the most closely-watched local races this year.

In 2019, incumbent Paula Mahan held on to her seat by 106 votes over her Republican challenger, George Scaringe. Come January, the Democrat announced, after serving the 80,000-strong Albany County municipality for 14 years, she would not seek re-election.

"I’m very proud of the accomplishments that we've made over the years and reached all of my goals that I had set out for the town and it's, it's time to move on to the next chapter of my life, so I can enjoy some traveling time and with my husband and enjoy my grandchildren, and my sons and daughter-in-laws and just enjoy life," said Mahan.

In February, political newcomer Kelly Mateja, endorsed by the Colonie Democratic Committee, tossed her hat in the ring.

"I am a Democrat. And the political issues that are important to me, I think are pretty universal, right? People want to feel included, they want to feel engaged. A foundation of my administration will be open government, that my entire administration will be about, efficiency and transparency and being an excellent steward of community resources," Mateja said. "It's not even really my administration, I am a steward holding space and enacting policies that are aligned with what my constituents want to see. So, really, I know I'm a political newcomer, and that I don't have a ton of experience with campaign massive machinations. I am a policy and programs person, and I really just care about delivering the government that people need and the government that people deserve."

By March, the race to find Mahan's successor finalized as the town Republican Party announced Peter Crummey was stepping down as town justice, a post he had held since 2000, to run for supervisor. 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," said Crummey. "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."

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, " Crummey said. "I would be dedicating those funds to our infrastructure. Colonie is slated to receive approximately $8 million.”

Mateja's plan for Colonie includes community outreach and resident participation in government.

The candidates say they’ve kept in touch with Supervisor Mahan, who has not endorsed a successor. Mahan adds she will work with the winner to ensure a smooth transition.

Early voting is underway and Election Day is November 2nd.

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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