Officials and local leaders gathered in Schenectady to endorse mayor Gary McCarthy today. He announced he would run for a second term.
The crowd assembled at City Hall included some of the area’s prominent Democrats, including Assemblymembers Phil Steck and Angelo Santabarbara, union leaders and business owners, and Capital District Congressman Paul Tonko.
“So things are good and growing stronger. We need to keep Gary McCarthy as our mayor. There’s no mistake about that. We need Gary McCarthy to return as mayor.”
Taking to the podium, McCarthy said he was proud to be a Democrat, and remarked on the accomplishments of his first term.
“First was rethinking and better coordinating our code enforcement efforts to deal with distressed buildings; second was to initiate the Homes Program – home ownership made easy in Schenectady; and third was the continuing support of our unified economic development team headed by Metroplex.”
McCarthy said his strategy is geared toward stabilizing the city’s finances and aiding downtown revitalization. The core of the city now features new buildings and sidewalks filled with foot-traffic, a contrast to the empty windows of the past few decades.
McCarthy said although the downtown revitalization process began twelve years ago, he attributed its recent success with his party’s control of the city and county government. McCarthy said the work done by the public and private sector alike culminated in the investments for the Galesi Group’s Rivers Casino and Resort and the Mohawk Harbor project.
“It’s $300 million in the casino, and it’s a $150 million dollars in housing and mixed-use development there. That’s $450 million – it’s almost half a billion dollars – in the City of Schenectady.”
The Democrat also discussed working with Schenectady’s sister cities of Troy, Amsterdam, and Gloversville, working in neighborhoods, and involving youth. The mayor mentioned the recent formation of the city’s first Millennial Council, aimed at getting more young people involved in the city government.
McCarthy again this year will face off against former Union College president Roger Hull, who lost to McCarthy in a close 2011 race by only 89 votes.
Hull, who is running in his own Alliance Party, has the support of Schenectady Republicans. He held his own press conference last week, flanked by Republican and Independent candidates for the City Board.
Hull was not available for an interview this week, but in a campaign announcement posted to Facebook he said, “It is time for others to lead this city because all the mayor and his followers on the city council have provided are empty promises and failed policies. We can do better.”
Hull has criticized McCarthy and recently called for a “zero tolerance policy” on bloat that leads to high property taxes, crumbling infrastructure, and crime.