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Mahan Won't Seek Another Term As Colonie Town Supervisor

Town of Colonie Supervisor Paula Mahan
WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas
Town of Colonie Supervisor Paula Mahan

Colonie Town Supervisor Paula Mahan announced Wednesday she will not seek reelection. The Democrat’s two-year term is up at the end of the year. She has held the post in Albany County town of about 80,000 since 2008. Mahan tells WAMC News that the next 12 months will be busy. Mahan, who narrowly won a seventh term in 2019, says she plans to travel and spend more time with her grandchildren.

When did you reach this decision? And why did you reach this decision?

Well, I actually had a long talk with my family this week, and we discussed moving forward and what the future brings, and we, you know, certainly my family's been a great support to me. And made the decision to finish out this year through December, and then call it retirement. I'm not going to seek reelection. But I'm looking forward to the remainder of my term and getting a lot of things done and working with the great people of the town of Colonie. And it really is more just, this is my 14th year, beginning my 14th year, and I’m very proud of the accomplishments that we've made over the years and reached all of my goals that I had set out for the town and it's, it's time to move on to the next chapter of my life, so I can enjoy some traveling time and with my husband and enjoy my grandchildren, and my sons and daughter-in-laws and just enjoy life.

What would you say is your legacy as supervisor over the past decade-plus?

Well, I think when I started this job, I came from teaching and I, it was my, my mission to come here and work for all the people of Colonie, regardless of political parties or anything like that, and keep the politics out of it and treat everyone with respect and work together to accomplish the goals, which the biggest one was when I came in, to, you know, really address the town's fiscal crisis, the town was basically bankrupt. And so it took a lot to stabilize the town's finances and move forward. And that was really the, you know, that was really the turning point, when we were able to move in that positive direction and begin to accomplish, you know, many, many goals that we set out.

There's just so many things we've been able to do including straightening out the finances and really proud of our police department and EMS department, they both are the top in the nation and have maintained that status. Working with all our DPW people and really working on infrastructure for so many years, and starting from scratch and, and moving forward with that. And just, we've been honored in many ways. And that's thanks to the people of Colonie and the wonderful employees we have here. I couldn't ask for better people to work with and a better town to lead. So I really think I leaving the town in good shape and much better shape than when I got here. And as I said, I'm looking forward to my last year and hoping for the future of the town of Colonie to stay the great town that it is and so future generations will be able to enjoy a wonderful life here as well.

Did you have any second thoughts about leaving now given all the uncertainty about the pandemic and its impacts on revenue and tax collection and where things might be in a year from now?

No, as I say, I'm gonna be here all year. We're in the same boat as every other municipality. But I will be here all year and we have worked hard to manage the finances with the loss of our sales tax revenue. We've done everything we could to manage the finances the best we could to move into the 2021 budget. And we still have everything, everything moving forward and we're still getting things done. So I think we are in the best place that we could be you know, under the circumstances, but I really I'm hopeful that the vaccines will help to end this, this pandemic, and so people can get back to some sense of normalcy, and people can be healthy. And we need to keep people working. We've been able to keep people working in town government. And so I, I know, there's more work to do over the next this over this year. And so I will be, you know, that's first and foremost on my list of and my focus for this year. But I think, hopefully, hopefully, as we get through the middle to the third quarter of this year, we'll have this behind us.

How much, if at all, did the closeness of your last reelection race play into your decision-making? I mean, were you worried at all that you couldn't win another term?

No, I'm not worried about…that's, that's not one of my concerns. When I set out to do something, and to accomplish something, I’m pretty determined. So I've won seven terms in a row. And won for the first time, back in 2008, which really was historical, because a Democrat hadn't been in office in almost 100 years. So  I don't focus on those types of things. My focus is on getting the job done. And I always said, you know, I want to be here, as long as the people want me here. And, you know, the feedback that has been steady, that the majority of the people are, have been pleased with the job, you know, that I've done. And I believe that. And, again, you can you can't control what other people do, like, I run a, an honest campaign. And that's the only way that that I would run. And elections are always, you know, you could you could win by 2000 1500. Or you could win by 100. It's, they're always different. And so no, I that's not one of my considerations. I believe if, if I ran again, I would work hard. And, and I think I'd be successful again, but, you know, right now, I'm more focused on this year and accomplishing what I need to accomplish and and then moving forward into the next chapter of my life.

Who would you like to see become the next Colonie town supervisor?

Well, I really don't have anyone in mind. I know, there are certainly people out there that are very qualified to do the job. I would just like to see someone that will, you know, do the job the way it should be done. And that is to work for all the people of the town. And just be respectful and hopefully not get involved in playing these, you know, some of the nasty games that go along with elections and, and whoever it is, I just hope that they give it their very best and will continue to move the town forward. I certainly want the town to continue to be, you know, one of the best towns around and so we  certainly want whoever's here to be successful.

A lifelong resident of the Capital Region, Ian joined WAMC in late 2008 and became news director in 2013. He began working on Morning Edition and has produced The Capitol Connection, Congressional Corner, and several other WAMC programs. Ian can also be heard as the host of the WAMC News Podcast and on The Roundtable and various newscasts. Ian holds a BA in English and journalism and an MA in English, both from the University at Albany, where he has taught journalism since 2013.
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