Cohoes Mayor Bill Keeler will seek second term; opponent enters the field
Cohoes Mayor Bill Keeler faces a challenger as he mounts a run for a second term.
Keeler was elected mayor of Cohoes in 2019. The former New York State Police major says since taking office he's tackled one challenge after another.
“Right off the bat, I mean, we were hit with a once a century global pandemic, a worldwide recession, all the issues involving Norlite, the PFOA and the PFOS," Keeler said. "That was the first two months alone. And then, you know, the George Floyd murder in Minneapolis brought the violent protests that were going across the country, brought those protests to the Capital Region, even Cohoes. So we dealt with all of those things effectively, I think.”
Fellow Democrat Ed Kinner hails from Albany's Arbor Hill. He moved to Cohoes 13 years ago. He's been active in the community and decided to mount a primary challenge against Keeler, planning a campaign built heavily on improving public service across the Spindle City.
“The current administration has had some great ideas, you know, the solar the solar panels, but I mean, our infrastructure, our roads are terrible," Kinner said. "You know, water main breaks are terrible, numerous ones every month throughout the city. Those are the those are the things that people want taken care of first. You know, our city spent millions of dollars on Remsen Street. Half those buildings are now empty. Yes, the pandemic had a lot to do with that. But our city really isn't doing anything to attract, you know, new businesses to come in and fill those spots. The businesses that we have in that corridor right now we're struggling, and it shouldn't be that way.”
Keeler stands on his record.
“Despite some historically difficult circumstances, businesses in Cohoes have generally thrived over the past few years, due in part with a helping hand from the city, but also with the outpouring of community support, dozens of new businesses opened," said Keeler. "I also promised to fix water mains that were leaking a million gallons a day, and in the first year, we cut that number in half. I promised to separate sewer lines that combine stormwater with raw sewage, and our ongoing efforts have accomplished that by removing sewage from the river, reducing backups in homes during major rain events, and saving taxpayer dollars that previously went to chemically treating what was basically clean rainwater in the process. And I also mention that I would address long neglected streets, and we have paved more streets in the past two years at any similar time in history. And I also said I would work to restore our iconic City Hall building to its former glory. And we have already secured almost two and a half million dollars in grants. And the restoration on that starts this spring.”
Kinner promises voters he will "save them money." Petitioning begins Tuesday.
“I'm trying to keep my fundraising to a minimum, and I'm going to utilize social media to the best I can, I'm going to knock on people's doors, and just listen to what they have to say," Kinner said. "And I mean, that's the one thing I think, politicians stop listening to people and stop informing people. That's one thing I hear throughout the city. This administration makes people feel uninformed. They don't. They don't share, you know, what's going on. They're not out talking to people. And the voters and the constituents just feel uninformed as to what's going on in our city government.”
Among registered voters in the city of about 18,000, Democrats hold a large majority over Republicans, who did not field a candidate in 2019. Keeler adds he is "not surprised" to be primaried this year and says "there's still a lot on the plate."
"I'm excited. I'm looking forward to the next four years," said Keeler.
The primary is June 27th.