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Top Albany County Democrats kick off re-election campaigns

Albany County Comptroller Susan Rizzo, County Sheriff Craig Apple Apple and County Executive Dan McCoy at the Carpenters Union Local #291 Training Center in Albany, January 7, 2023.
Dave Lucas
Albany County Comptroller Susan Rizzo, County Sheriff Craig Apple Apple and County Executive Dan McCoy at the Carpenters Union Local #291 Training Center in Albany, January 7, 2023.

Top Democrats in Albany County have kicked off their campaigns for re-election.

County Sheriff Craig Apple, County Comptroller Susan Rizzo, and County Executive Dan McCoy formally launched re-election bids Saturday at Carpenters Local 291 headquarters.

McCoy, running for a fourth term, said he fellow local officials have a strong partnership in government.

"When I took over in 2012, we were borrowing $15 million a year to make payroll, we only had 20 million in reserves," said McCoy. "We're well over 80 million in our reserves, we're not borrowing money, and we're ready for anything that hits us now, I was always getting ready for another economic downturn, never thought there'd be a pandemic. But we're ready, and we're going to be ready again, by continuing to lower and taxes for the people of Albany County but still deliver the services they interest and making them more and better every day."

Apple has been sheriff since 2011 and ran unopposed in 2019. He says his department has been tackling gun violence throughout the county in addition to patrolling the streets in the city of Albany. He has launched initiatives ranging from partnering with Albany Law School on a new strategy to prevent people from returning to jail, to transforming a cell block in an empty wing of the county jail into transitional housing.

"What we're doing is we're lowering recidivism," said Apple. "We're showing a little bit of support and compassion for those who may have done something in the prior life. And now we're trying to get them back on the on the back into the system as far as getting a job, paying taxes like the rest of us and living a healthy, productive life and staying out of jail. And we put 300, 400 people through that right now. And we've got some tremendous, great success stories."

His re-election bid comes after an aborted run for state Senate.

Rizzo, elected in 2019, says she's passionate about her work.

"I will continue to work together with Mr. McCoy, and Sheriff Apple, especially during this election," Rizzo said. "We're going to accomplish an awful lot. We have already, as people know, I borrow money. We got the corporate funds, I'm on the committee to spend the money. I will make sure that it's accounted for. As far as the cash is concerned, I invest the cash, we maximize on investments, we have an investment plan. As far as our rating is, my goal is to increase our rating so we can borrow money at a lesser cost to the taxpayers."

While Democrats were rallying, chair Alicia Purdy says the Albany City Republican Committee was brainstorming.

"We're regrouping, re-evaluating and re-examining how we vet candidates," said Purdy. "We don't we don't want to be responsible for George Santos. We don't want that kind of egg on our face."

Purdy says no names are on the table at this point.

Democratic Albany Common Council President Corey Ellis commented on the Santos situation:

"As we saw in Washington, leadership matters," Ellis said. "And when you have good leadership, things like that don't happen and that's why we're here today because the leadership of all three of our people that we that we put in office and we'd like to continue to see them in office."

New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says local Democrats remain unified.

"What a great turnout for this strong ticket. McCoy, Apple, Rizzo," said DiNapoli. This is public services delivered for the people in the county of Albany. And I think this is a great launch for them. It's going to be a good year for Democrats here in Albany."

On voter rolls, Albany County Democrats outnumber Republicans three-to-one. County Republican Chairman Randy Bashwinger says the party has made no formal announcements naming candidates.

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.