The Daily Gazette editorial board made several endorsements in key local races this year, including Schenectady City Council, Niskyauna town supervisor, Amsterdam mayor, Saratoga Springs mayor and Saratoga Springs finance commissioner.
The editorial board is comprised of Publisher John D’Augustine, Editor Miles Reed, Editorial Page Editor Mark Mahoney, Human Resources director Paula Opel and advertising representative Kelly Murray.
Over the last month, the editorial board interviewed each of the candidates and evaluated them based on their record of accomplishment, business and political experience, community involvement, candidate platforms and positions, and other intangibles.
In evaluating the candidates we felt would best serve the constituents of each community, we endorsed five Democrats, two Republicans and one independent candidate, noting that some candidates are running on third-party lines as well. Of the eight candidates we endorsed, five are women.
We invite voters to use our endorsements as an element of perspective and information in evaluating the candidates you feel will best serve your personal interests and your community.
Here is a summary of our 2019 endorsements:
Schenectady City Council: Leesa Perazzo, John Polimeni, Vince Riggi, Carmel Patrick. There are seven candidates seeking four open seats on the seven-member council this year, with the mayor running unopposed. We thought this combination of experience, community involvement, education and independence would provide a diverse and effective complement to the existing council. In endorsing Perazzo, the board cited her attention to detail and her willingness to buck the majority when necessary. We endorsed independent Vince Riggi for being close to his constituents and not being afraid to criticize and challenge decisions. We supported John Polimeni for his intelligence and experience in budgeting and economic development. And we supported newcomer Carmel Patrick for her long and varied history of community involvement and her ideas for improving the city.
Niskayuna supervisor: Yasmine Syed. In her first term, Syed has proven to be a smart, effective, attentive public official who overcame heavy political hostility from the Democratic council early in her tenure to provide steady leadership on budgetary matters, expansion of the wastewater treatment plant and development in the town.
Saratoga Springs mayor: Meg Kelly. Also in her first term, Kelly has tossed off the limitations of the commission form of government to lead the city toward solutions to parking and trails, has helped secure millions in grants, and is actively addressing other city issues such as on-street parking, development, fire protection for the eastern ridge, and a location for the Code Blue shelter. She’s brought an ambitious, no-nonsense approach to the office that serves the city well.
Amsterdam mayor: Mike Villa. Another first-termer, Villa wasn’t content with the slow progress that was being made to bring the struggling city back from the economic brink. In the past two years, he’s forcefully addressed such long-neglected issues as the budget deficit, abandoned and rundown properties, and economic development by bringing in talented people and fostering a new spirit of cooperation within city government.
Saratoga Springs finance commissioner: Patricia Morrison. We decided to do an endorsement in this race because of the position’s importance to the city and its competitive nature. We felt that Morrison has all the qualifications to perform the duties of the job and would use her willingness to challenge and question the status quo to improve city government. We chastised incumbent Michelle Madigan for abusing her power in office, and felt Morrison would provide a much-needed infusion of independence on the council.
We encourage voters to support these candidates by taking time to vote on Tuesday.
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