A local religious leader is mounting a third bid to become mayor of Albany.
Reverend Valerie Faust of Living Word Tabernacle has made two previous runs for mayor of Albany, in 2009 and 2013. She declared her candidacy in January. She says the prevailing mentality among city voters "has to be broken."
"I saw that I could just use my script, my stump speech. And all of my concerns I used in 2009, I could still use today. And that was because nothing really changed. And some things had gotten worse, and seemingly getting worse. So I felt that this time of the was the real time this the time was to win this time was really to fight for our city for our future here, our reputation here as a city, and do my best to improve that in the role of mayor."
Faust says second-term Democratic Mayor Kathy Sheehan can be defeated, if only voters would "wake up" and give someone else a chance.
"Why are we doing something that Einstein called insanity, doing the same thing in the same way expecting a change. And so we really want to come at that mentality, we really want to get people to start thinking that they don't have to be afraid and they don't have to be stuck in a habitual way of following the status quo of voting and following the mentality that nothing's going to get better anyway, nobody else is going to make a change, we might as well keep what we have. It's that prevailing thought process that keep people doing the same thing in the same way, being very unhappy, complaining and whining, and then vote in the same problem, to do another four years."
Faust says the need to drastically change Albany has never been more urgent. Above drugs, mental health and alcoholism, she sees public safety as the most urgent issue this election.
"We have seen increase in crime not only in gun violence, but increase. You know, I was looking at some stats increase in rapes and assaults. So it's across the board type of criminal activity going on. And we can't tolerate that anymore because people are dying. Not only are the people dying, not only other people, not just the victims, but the perpetrators. So what would I do? Get to the brass tacks, get to the root of it, talk to these children talk to these people who are in the crime business. They're people who are just outright evil. You can't do anything with them. But there are so many of the youth that we can catch when they're young, get into the schools, start speaking to them about anti-crime, get them familiar with police that they are not going to see the police as enemies."
Faust says there are issues she prioritizes above the Skyway, the Port of Albany and the arts in the city.
"Before we get to those things, it's like, let's give people some decent housing, let's get people affordable housing. Let's deal with the boarded up houses, the vacant property, let's deal with young entrepreneurs trying to start a business in the city. And there's so many red tape issues that block and stop them. Let's talk about the human life issues that needs to be taken care of, before we can even talk about, you know, a Palace Theatre or the the port of Albany business that's coming with the wind turbines."
Faust says she’ll run in the Democratic primary but is also seeking another party line and fully intends to be in the November election. At the same time, she says she'd like to get together with other candidates after the primary to discuss strategy, perhaps even choosing one of them to face Sheehan in the fall.
Christian blogger and social media personality Alicia Purdy is running to be the Republican nominee. Entertainer Greg Aidala will run as an independent. Faust joins Democratic primary challengers Black Lives Matter activist Lukee Forbes and long-time city advocate Marlon Anderson.