The two major party endorsements for the Niskayuna Town Board seat made vacant by Rosemarie Perez Jaquith resignation have been announced.
The special election added to the Nov. 2 ballot will determine who will finish out the last two years of her four-year term. It also puts four of the town’s five seats on the ballot in a town where Democrats currently hold a 4-1 majority on the board. The lone Republican — Supervisor Yasmine Syed — is not seeking reelection in November.
The town Democrats tapped Jessica Brennan, out of five contenders, on Monday, while the Schenectady County Republicans informed the Board of Elections on Tuesday that they support Dave Feiden in the fall campaign.
“Jessica Brennan is a special, selfless leader who really has her finger on the pulse of this community,” said Denise Murphy McGraw, the chairwoman of the Niskayuna Democrats and a town board member seeking reelection. “I am looking forward to working with her to get out our positive message of inclusion, fiscal integrity and getting things done that improve the quality of life in our town.”
Brennan, who is also backed by the Working Families Party, is the founder of Nisky NOW (Nutrition on Weekends) and feeds 80 food-insecure families each week. She is also the founder of Nisky Attic, a virtual space where community members can help meet the clothing needs of students and families.
“I am honored to represent the Democratic Party in this election and look forward to working on the issues that matter most to our community such as responsible budgeting and holding the line on taxes to ensure our community remains an accessible place to live, continuing to invest in our people and aging infrastructure, as well as providing quality community programs for our children, families, and seniors,” Brennan said.
She said she felt compelled to run after noticing increased divisions between various income brackets and matters concerning the police, among other topics.
Brennan said she is skilled at bringing people together to solve problems and build cohesion in town. She believes she has a good feel for the needs of the town, considering she is a school district social worker and her father is a senior citizen living in Niskayuna.
“As a Niskayuna community activist, I am in a unique position of having personal connections throughout our town,” Brennan had said in her statement Sunday, which notes her regular communication with police, firefighters, senior citizens, youth sports programs, the Jewish Community Center and St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish.
After officially endorsing Feiden on Tuesday, Schenectady County Republican chairman Chris Koetzle spoke of the good Feiden can bring to the board.
“As a lifelong resident, Dave is a strong advocate for the people and will fight everyday to help restore good government to the town board,” Koetzle said. “He has the skills to bring people together, not divide them, and he will work with everybody to make sure everyone is working for the residents.”
Feiden is a photographer who had to shut down his business due to COVID. He said he wanted to get more involved in the community. He said issues like crime, overbuilding in the town, and taxes are some of the issues he wants to focus on. He said those that get arrested are often released due to bail reform laws and that needs to change.
“We need to keep an eye on our property taxes, too,” he said, noting he liked how Supervisor Yasmine Syed has handled them.
He also wants to keep better track of what is being built in Niskayuna to ensure the town is not building so much that it takes away from the community.
Feiden, also endorsed by the Conservative Party, also ran for 110th Assembly seat last year, after spending 15 years working in the state Assembly.
He said he believes people will want a different perspective on the town board.
“People are sick of what’s going on,” he said.