Porterfield launches Schenectady mayoral bid with people-first message at campaign kickoff

Two images: A woman smiles speaking to a child and the woman herself inset

Marion Porterfield visits with 2-year-old Micah Tatem at her mayoral campaign kick-off event. Inset: Porterfield

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SCHENECTADY — City Council President Marion Porterfield launched her mayoral bid with a people-first message Thursday evening at Great Flats Brewing.

Porterfield is challenging incumbent Mayor Gary McCarthy in the Democratic primary on June 27 and stressed the importance of new blood in city government in her speech to several dozen supporters at the downtown brewery.

“We have to plan for the future,” she told the crowd. “We’re not all going to be where we are today, so we have to make sure there are other people coming along and doing the things that need to be done. That takes a fighter. Even though it might seem like I’m very calm, I am a fighter. It takes a fighter to stand up and go through some of the things I’ve been through.”

City Councilman John Mootooveren attended the launch party and threw his support behind Porterfield for the June primary.

“I think it’s the right time for some changes,” he said. “City Hall needs changes. We need new people in leadership positions who can put the people first. I think Marion brings that quality to the table. We need to treat people fairly and equitably across the board.”

Mootooveren dismissed the potential fundraising advantage that the incumbent McCarthy could hold entering the primary campaign.

“Money does not win elections,” Mootooveren said. “It’s about an individual candidate going out there knocking on doors and talking to people. That’s how you win elections. You can have $100,000 in the bank and it will be useless if you can’t go out there and talk to the voters and get the voters to vote for you.”

Porterfield told her supporters that if elected mayor she plans to update the city’s comprehensive plan for the first time since 2008 by conducting listening sessions with a broad swath of community members.

“We need to not do it from a top-down approach but from a bottom-up approach,” she told the crowd. “Then we can meet in the middle.”

Porterfield, who was appointed to her seat on the council by the board in 2012, highlighted her top campaign priorities.

“Public safety is a priority and housing is a priority,” Porterfield said following her speech. “Making sure that our city government is optimally staffed is a priority and making sure that residents’ voices are heard and that they’re included in what we do as we move forward. So we need to continue to build on the progress that we’ve had, but to make sure in that five-year plan that we have to look at where we’re going to be in five years and take the steps to get there.”

Schenectady resident Anna Fulton recounted a story of how she was driving down the street in her Mont Pleasant neighborhood one day and noticed a large amount of debris clogging the road, only to spot Porterfield taking action by clearing the debris from the street herself.

Niskayuna Town Supervisor Jaime Puccioni attended the campaign event and said that Porterfield has served as a mentor to her during her political career.

“As another elected official, I have leaned on Marion for advice and counsel,” Puccioni said.

The Niskayuna supervisor said she believes Porterfield is the right choice for the city’s next mayor.

“She’s intelligent, she’s wise and professional,” Puccioni said. “I’m honored to support another woman of color who’s running for office.”

City Councilman Damonni Farley joined Mootooveren at the campaign event to support their colleague’s mayoral run.

Schenectady Republican Committee Chairman Matt Nelligan previously announced his mayoral candidacy on the GOP line for the November general election.

Schenectady County Legislator Michelle Ostrelich said that she believed the time is right for Porterfield to launch a primary challenge in advance of the November general election.

“I’m really excited for her run,” Ostrelich said at the campaign party. “I think she’s got so much experience and I think she’s what the city needs right now. I think she’s got a plan and she’s seen so much and understands so much and is willing to listen. She’s crafted a path towards inclusion that’s really important.”

Categories: -News-, Schenectady, Schenectady County

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