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It’s a third four-year term for Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan Election 2021 Victory Celebrat
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas
Flanked by elected officials, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan celebrates her 2021 Election Night victory at the Italian-American Community Center in Albany.

Democratic rule continues in the city of Albany, where voters have given Mayor Kathy Sheehan a third four-year term.

"I will state the obvious: it's been a good night for Democrats in the city of Albany. Let's hear it for the city of Albany Democrats," said Jake Crawford, who chairs the Albany County Democratic Committee. "I'm proud to announce our Democrats are returning on the city council and I'm proud to announce that we're gonna have another four years of Mayor Kathy Sheehan."

Sheehan easily defeated three challengers, but the nearly 8,000 votes she earned is the lowest of her three mayoral elections: in 2013 she garnered nearly 12,000 votes and just over 10,000 in 2017. This time around, the Democrat faced Republican Alicia Purdy, Independence nominee Greg Aidala, and write-in candidate Valerie Faust.

"You know, we did not take anything for granted," said Sheehan. "I've been out knocking on doors. I've had a great team of volunteers. And we've been listening to our residents and listening to the community. And I, you know, I think that we have such great opportunity and potential in our city. There's so much reason to be hopeful as we come out of these unprecedented challenging times. And it's going to be really important that we continue to engage the community to listen to people. So we're making investments and doing all that we can."

Sheehan originally pledged to serve two terms but said she ran for a third to see the city through the COVID-19 crisis.

Alicia Purdy
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas
Alicia Purdy

Purdy and Aidala, each of whom gathered around 2,200 votes, say they have no regrets.

Purdy said "Running a mayoral campaign has been very eye opening. And I think what it's done is ignited an even deeper passion in me to get involved. And not only that, it cannot stop with me. I really feel that it's time to inspire other people to get involved every single day of this campaign for the last 11 months every day. I woke up with two questions in my mind. How can I damage the system today? And who is my target?

Greg Aidala
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas
Greg Aidala

Aidala said "You know, I still want to continue. I've met really great corners of the community that ask for my platform and my voice and I'll continue to help them and do anything I can to just try to strengthen and possibly bridge relationships that might not be there. If I can help do that, like I said, to strengthen the community, I'll do that for sure."

In another citywide vote, Democratic Common Council President Corey Ellis commanded a sizable majority over Republican Jesse Calhoun. Ellis says it will be a time of transition after five veteran members decided to step aside. "So we lost a lot of institutional knowledge with the members who chose not to run again. So the direction of the council, we don't know. You really have to see how council members take to their jobs. You have to see how how they think and how they govern. Before you can have any assessment," said Ellis. "I come in, like I did for for years with an open book to the council, really, as a mentor, and a way to see how they govern. So that's what I think. When you let, when you allow people to grow into who they are, and especially when they're representing their districts, I think you get a better product. And this council that’s leaving, I think we grew in, a lot of them grew into their roles, and we had a council that was productive and a council at times that battled certain issues. But the one thing I would like to say, even when we disagreed one another's council members, it was a council that was sticking together and that's the most important part."

Also celebrating victories: Albany treasurer Darius Shahinfar and chief city auditor Dorcey Applyrs, who both ran unopposed, along with William Little, who becomes the second Black Albany County Court Judge. "And I think it changes things for Albany because there's a lot of young kids, you'll see who look like me, who never think that they had the opportunity to be in a position that I am. And I'm blessed to be in that position," said Little. "And I know it's something I will not take for granted. It's something that I think that you know, the younger kids see, and they see that what I have is attainable and reachable to them as well. And I mean, it's a lot to a lot of kids. It may not seem a lot to a lot of people, but it's a big deal to a lot of kids who look just like me, when everything that they have the opportunity to be a judge."

Albany voters approved Proposal 6, amending the city charter to require common councilors to live within their wards for at least a year before taking office and during their term, and Proposal 7, giving the Albany Community Police Review Board the ability to launch independent investigations into complaints filed against police officers.

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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