Saratoga Springs Deputy Mayor Shauna Sutton said Wednesday that if elected mayor, she would provide “a seamless transition” and continue working on current city initiatives.
The Republican announced her candidacy for mayor Wednesday at the Saratoga Arms hotel, surrounded by supporters.
Reports surfaced earlier this week that Sutton planned to run after working for six years as deputy to Mayor Scott Johnson, who announced in March that he would not seek re-election. On Wednesday he appeared at Sutton’s event to lend his support, as did state Assemblyman Tony Jordan, R-Jackson, Saratoga Springs Republican Committee Chairman David Harper, Public Safety Commissioner Anthony “Skip” Scirocco and others.
Sutton is the only mayoral candidate seeking the endorsement of the committee, which plans to hold a meeting Monday to vote on nominating candidates for city and county seats.
Sutton’s likely opponent is Democrat Joanne Yepsen, eight-year county supervisor and owner of Coltivare, a marketing company. Yepsen announced her candidacy a month ago; the Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee is expected to endorse her at a meeting May 18.
It would be the first time in city history that two women have run against each other for mayor, Sutton said. The city has had only two female mayors in its history: Valerie Keehn and A.C. Riley.
Derrick Legall, chairman of the Saratoga Springs Recreation Commission, introduced Sutton, 57, saying he has worked with her on several recreation projects, including building the new South Side Recreation Center.
“Many of you know that I’m a registered Democrat but consider myself an independent thinker,” Legall said. “[Sutton] is very resourceful, creative and a solution-oriented person. She has the experience and passion that is needed to get things done in City Hall.”
Sutton cited as accomplishments her work under Johnson on negotiating a new health insurance plan for employees that saves the city money, creating the city’s waterfront park along Saratoga Lake and building the new recreation center.
Her priorities in office would be keeping spending under control and taxes low, maintaining residents’ quality of life and continuing open space initiatives. Sutton also said she would hold neighborhood meetings in the city to get residents’ input and wants to get funding for the proposed Geyser Road trail and city greenbelt trail.
Yepsen, 54, said Wednesday that she is excited about introducing herself to city residents in a new capacity as a mayoral candidate and debating the issues with Sutton. “I look forward to healthy debates with a respectful campaign. In the end, we are all Saratogians,” she said.
Environmental sustainability and economic development will continue to be priorities for Yepsen, as well as the future of thoroughbred racing.
“I intend to be a mayor for everyone with regular input from all my constituents,” she said.
The mayor serves a two-year term and is paid $14,500 a year. Like the city’s four commissioner positions, it is considered a part-time post with a deputy managing the department full-time, but many mayors and commissioners devote more than part-time hours to the job.
Sutton said she would work the job full-time, adding that she currently works at least 50 hours a week as deputy.
On Wednesday, Democratic Chairman Brown said Sutton’s candidacy represents the “status quo.”
“By contrast, Joanne Yepsen’s candidacy represents an influx of fresh perspective and forward-thinking ideas,” he said in a statement. “As mayor, Joanne’s office door will always be open to our citizens, which is why I am proud to support her.”
Also Wednesday, Republican Richard Wirth said he plans to announce today his candidacy for public safety commissioner, challenging incumbent Chris Mathiesen, who beat Wirth two years ago for the seat.
Mathiesen, a Democrat, has said he plans to run for re-election.
Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan and Accounts Commissioner John Franck, both Democrats, have said they wish to run for re-election. No other Democrats have been announced, but Brown said the committee has one person interested in each seat and plans to endorse a full slate, including two supervisor candidates.
The Republicans lack candidates for finance and accounts commissioners, Harper said: “We don’t yet have a full slate.”
Besides Sutton and Scirocco, who hasn’t officially announced but is expected to soon, Republicans also have two supervisor candidates, incumbent Matthew Veitch and Ken Ivins, a former commissioner of finance in the city.
The city has two seats on the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors.