There’s a third person entering the race for mayor of Schenectady, one looking to leverage support from young people in the city.
Chris Gibbs, 27, said he’s aiming to run as an independent candidate for mayor, and will focus his campaign on bringing jobs to the area and revitalizing communities.
“I talked to a lot of people about different things that they want to see in the community,” he said. “One of the biggest issues is that taxes need to be lower. There are a lot of issues we can also attack if we can bring more jobs to the area.”
Gibbs grew up in Brooklyn and moved to Schenectady to attend Schenectady County Community College. He never received a degree and now lives on Franklin Street after previously residing in Hamilton Hill and Mont Pleasant.
Gibbs, who has a 2-year-old daughter, has his own production company called Mad Men Productions, which promotes and manages parties. He also runs a nonprofit called the Chris Gibbs Foundation.
“I’ve been doing things around the community since I’ve been living here for eight years,” he said. “I do things myself like toy drives and clothing drives and neighborhood cleanups.”
According to the Schenectady County Board of Elections, for the independent nominating body he needs 543 signatures. He can start collecting July 7 and the filing period is Aug. 11 to 18.
“My plan is to stay involved and keep working hard,” Gibbs said. “Hopefully enough people will hear about what I’m doing. People who don’t vote are probably young and are not aware of what’s going on. Those are the votes I’m looking for. I want to show the youth how much power you have with voting.”
After talking with people in the city, Gibbs said he would like to see the city more actively recruit businesses to the area, increase job opportunities and promote more youth programs.
Gibbs said he believes Mayor Gary McCarthy lacks a connection with the community and is not on top of the issues. McCarthy, a Democrat seeking re-election, is also facing second-time challenger Roger Hull, the former Union College president and Alliance Party founder.
Gibbs said McCarthy has focused on development in downtown but has not done enough in neighborhoods such as Hamilton Hill and Mont Pleasant.
“If we can get more businesses to come into the area, that would attack the problem of high taxes and unemployment,” Gibbs said. “We also need to fill the potholes and offer more activities for kids.”
He said the future casino off Erie Boulevard would help to bring jobs and possibly attract more businesses to the city.
Gibbs admitted he has been arrested several times in the past for resisting arrest and possession of marijuana.
“I was a young kid when those things happened,” he said. “My plan is that I’m not going to hide anything. Politicians are regular people too, but they try to hide things in their past and pretend that they are someone they’re not. Honesty is always the best method.”
Gibbs said he looks forward to the campaign and plans to continue being active in the community to raise awareness about his bid for mayor.
“As far as getting my name out there, I’ve been doing and will be doing different things in the community,” he said. “I already built up a large support group.”
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