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Troy City Council seats Figueroa

Steven Figueroa shakes Mayor Patrick Madden's hand after being sworn in as Troy's District 2 city councilor
Lucas Willard
Steven Figueroa shakes Mayor Patrick Madden's hand after being sworn in as Troy's District 2 city councilor

The Troy City Council unanimously chose a new interim member Thursday night following a resignation last month.

In a 6 to 0 vote, Democrat Steven Figueroa was chosen to serve as the next representative of District 2 on the city council.

The youth advocate and familiar face in the city’s North Central neighborhood replaces Republican Kim Ashe-McPherson, who resigned in June after pleading guilty to fraudulently submitting absentee ballots in 2021 elections.

Figuerora, 33, who ran against Ashe-McPherson last November, said he wants to further serve his community, which he says is suffering.

“And I’ve been working closely with the youth in our community, with community leaders, with the district attorney’s office trying to see what we can do to improve the neighborhood and lower the crime rate and lower the gun violence. And my goal is to provide more opportunities to the young people in our community,” said Figueroa.

Mayor Patrick Madden and the council’s three Democrats announced their support for Figueroa after Ashe-McPherson’s resignation, but a disagreement over the process bogged things down.

“I should have been appointed immediately. But unfortunately, the process was a lot different. But we’re glad we’re here today and ready to work and get things done,” said Figueroa.

With Figueroa’s appointment, the balance of power on the city council shifts to the Democrats, who outnumber Republicans 4 to 3.

Republican City Council President Carmella Mantello pushed back against the Democrats and the mayor’s approach to seat Figueroa immediately, and instead called for interested candidates to apply.

Seven candidates including Figueroa ultimately expressed interest, and a public forum was held with the hopefuls on June 28th, but the Democrats afterward remained in support of Figueroa.

Sue Steele, the District 3 councilor who also serves as leader of the council’s Democratic caucus, said Thursday she was pleased with the outcome, even if the process took longer than she had wanted.

“I understand they felt they were providing folks with a process that was open. In my opinion, I think it raised unrealistic expectations in those people. Because three members and the mayor came out the day of the resignation and said Steve Figueroa is entitled to this position,” said Steele.

Mayor Madden cheered Figueroa’s appointment.

“You know, I wish it hadn’t taken so long. But we got the outcome we were hoping for,” said Madden.

Madden commended Figueroa’s commitment to Troy demonstrated throughout the pandemic and after coming up short in last year’s general election.

“I think he’s an outstanding person to fill the position. He has the trust of the community. But more importantly, he’s shown a commitment to the community that I’ve seen in few other people in my life,” said Madden. “Even after he lost the election, he was still involved in running food drives, running vaccination clinics, getting people out to get vaccinated…”

Council President Mantello, who joined all members in welcoming Figueroa to the council table Thursday, said the Republican caucus was committed to a legislative process and that the council should come together to fill the vacancy – even if they support a different candidate this fall in a special election.

Figueroa will serve for the rest of the year before the special election decides the representative for the remainder of the term.

“For us, this evening, I thought I felt it was very important to come together as a legislative body – not leave the decision up to the mayor – do our job, and tonight we’re going to do our job. We’ll be appointing Steve, and then in November the people of District 2 will have their say. But Steve, there’s no doubt in my mind he’s going to give it his all, and we’ll do everything to help him. Because, ultimately, that’s what we’re all here for,” said Mantello.

Steven Figueroa speaks with WAMC's Lucas Willard
Steven Figueroa speaks with WAMC's Lucas Willard<br/>

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.
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