Clinton County legislator Chris Rosenquest represents Area 9 — the northeast portion of the city of Plattsburgh. The Democrat has been in the legislature since 2016 and was just reelected. But last week he kicked off a bid for mayor of Plattsburgh. He tells WAMC North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley several factors led to his decision.
"It wasn't something that I was initially considering. I've been elected to the legislature serving four years there and just recently reelected, unopposed, just this last year. But in all of my conversations with constituents, with community members, with civic leaders, local, regional, state leaders, there really was the call to make a change at City Hall. Not so much about financially how things have been going, because I think if we're all honest, we can look at how the city's finances have been going and we can say it has gone in a positive direction. The concern though is how it's being done. You know, balancing the budget on the backs of our skilled staff; the amount of lawsuits and disenfranchised voices in our communities; community groups and specialized groups that are threatening lawsuits against the city; the fracture between the town and the city. You know, the town in the city has almost always been, as long as I've known, have had a, I don't want to say contentious, but a delicate relationship. And that has become completely, at this point it seems like, completely disjointed. And so there was this overarching need by the community that I also recognized to really make a change in not just the financial momentum but the cultural momentum, the community momentum, of our city and our town that we felt and we really feel needs to change. You know I have financial background. I was the finance Chair of the Clinton County Legislature. I have economic development background not only just as the chair of the Economic Development Committee but on the ground working with community groups, owning my own business, helping start other businesses in the community. So you know what we are looking at is really the desire to have a mayor that can do both. And you know even as the other candidates came on there still was this hey you know we really need somebody that has more of that local experience those local connections to make that difference. And then that's when I decided to run."
Chris Rosenquest faces businessman Tenzin Dorjee, student Miles Davis and incumbent Mayor Colin Read in a Democratic primary. Republican Scott Beebie is the sole Republican candidate so far. The city Democratic committee endorsed Mayor Read for re-election this week.