Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy gathered with supporters this morning in the City Hall Rotunda to officially announce that he’s running for a third four-year term.
Gary McCarthy was elected mayor in 2011 and was re-elected in 2015. During his time in office, the Democrat’s supporters say he’s cut property taxes four years in a row and welcomed casino gambling to the Electric City. They also tout new businesses downtown and building renovations throughout Schenectady. McCarthy says he is pleased with the direction of the city.
"It's the atmosphere and the level of excitement that exists in this community, where, people have treated Schenectady as a second class city, kinda the butt of jokes, now people see it as a real opportunity for investment, for entertainment, for work opportunities. I want to continue to build on that, want to attract people to this community and create real value. What we have been doing is what I wanna continue to do."
McCarthy is the president of the New York Conference of Mayors and is endorsed by Democratic State Assemblymembers Angelo Santabarbara and Phil Steck. At the mayor’s campaign announcement, Steck called McCarthy “a student of local government.” “Other municipalities always their hands out for state aid. Schenectady doesn’t, and it’s to Schenectady and its great mayor’s credit that it’s been able to make all these, all this progress without as much as other cities get."
Steck then addressed fellow Democrat Thearse McCalmon, who in February announced a run to primary McCarthy. “The opposition is basically calling on this mayor to solve all the social ills of our society. That’s not the job of the mayor. Quite frankly, it’s the job of your state legislators, your governor, your president and your congress. A mayor does not have the resources, cannot raise revenue the way we can to address all of those issues.”
A newcomer to politics, McCalmon has a background in education, retail management and banking. She is endorsed by the Working Families Party. Patrick Nelson is her campaign manager. “I just want to point out to Assemblymember Steck that everything that is on our palm card and is on our website platform is a local issue. Fixing the potholes in Hamilton Hill and Mont Pleasant is not a state or federal issue.”
Although McCarthy’s camp is challenging McCalmon’s signatures to get on the ballot, Nelson says she has more than enough: “We filed 328 extra signatures on top of the 575 that we needed.”
McCarthy says the biggest problem facing Schenectady is distressed property. “And it continues to be something that drives our costs up and taxes the resources of the community so that I continue to make that a focus, and the way you do it is talk about home ownership opportunities, you bring the good things in, and things happen simultaneously where policing is producing results in terms of reduction in crime. People then begin looking at homeownership opportunities, they look at investments they wanna make in the community.”
At this time there is no Republican opponent running for mayor.
The Democratic Primary is set for June 25th.