Albany Common Council President's Race Heats Up | WAMC

Albany Common Council President's Race Heats Up

Apr 13, 2017

Additional candidates are entering the race for Albany Common Council President.

Albany County Legislator Chris Higgins has served the 5th district since 2008. He joins former Albany mayoral candidate Corey Ellis in making a bid for Council President. The current council president, Carolyn McLaughlin, is running for mayor.    "You know for the last 10 years now, I've represented very passionately, and I think effectively, the residents of five of Albany's downtown neighborhoods in the county legislature. I have a proved track record of delivering results. I've passed legislation that's had a positive effect on the environment, I've passed legislation to address the city's blight and urban decay through enacting our county land bank, which has been incredibly successful. I've passed consumer advocacy legislation which has helped people when they go to restaurants and they look at calorie content on menus. I think that that track record is really powerful and it shows that I would be very, very effective in this new role. I think it would be great to use it to push policy at a larger level here in the city. And here let's be honest. The city council is divided into a variety of different factions, and I wanna represent the people and not just any one faction or any one ideology of the Democratic party."

A splintered Albany Democratic party guarantees a lively campaign season leading up to the September primary. Three Democrats are vying for mayor and now three for Common Council president: Tim Carney is third hat in the ring. But there’s a twist. On his Facebook page Carney writes that for the past 20 years he's been calling for elimination of the position. So in effect he is running to abolish the post he's running for. He adds he thinks the city can save around $500,000 per year in salaries and benefits by downsizing what he refers to as "these useless do nothing positions." Carney has run for Common Council president in the past. He also took a failed shot at Senator Neil Breslin's seat in 2010.

When it comes down to support, among the three candidates, Ellis, who gave a spirited speech at Mayor Kathy Sheehan's re-election announcement, has the mayor's backing, which places him in the same box with other powerful local Democrats, among them County Executive Dan McCoy.   "Here's a guy that's represented the common council for a while, did two terms there, ran for mayor, and now he's running for president of common council and he has some great ideas."

Back at the Higgins camp, the candidate is busy trying to drum up support.  "I'm calling around to elected officials and leaders and stakeholders in the city, asking them to support my candidacy, I'm gaining traction there. In my 10 years, I've tried to be a very independent-minded local elected official, and I think people in the city really respect and appreciate the fact that I speak my mind when I think things are right, and when I think things are wrong. And hopefully that's gonna translate into votes."

Tim Carney could not be reached for comment in time for broadcast.