By JOE LoTEMPLIO
---- — PLATTSBURGH — Another candidate wants to enter the mayoral race in the City of Plattsburgh.
Chris Rosenquest, who grew up in Plattsburgh but has been living in Seattle the past six years, is returning to his hometown to run as an independent candidate.
“It’s time,” Rosenquest, 38, said. “This is a great opportunity. I went away, got a great education and gained some experience, and I want to make a difference.”
If he is successful in getting on the ballot, Rosenquest will likely face Democrat Mark Tiffer and independent James Calnon, two current councilors who are also working to get on the ballot to run.
Calnon, who is endorsed by the Republican Party, and Tiffer are in the process of obtaining the necessary signatures to secure a spot on the November ballot. They have until July 11 to file their petitions.
As an independent, Rosenquest must get 242 signatures from registered voters who have not signed someone else’s mayoral petition.
He has from July 9 to Aug. 20 to collect signatures.
“I have a team of volunteers that are going to help me, and we will get back there and start knocking on doors,” Rosenquest said as he was driving from the West Coast on Monday.
He has rented an apartment and will move here this week to start campaigning, while his wife, Tracy Vicory-Rosenquest, stays behind in Seattle to tend to her work.
The only residency requirement to run for mayor is that a candidate must be living in the area for which they are running by Election Day, according to the Clinton County Board of Elections.
The child of an Air Force member, Rosenquest moved to Plattsburgh in third grade.
He attended school at Plattsburgh Air Force Base and in the city schools, graduating from Plattsburgh High School in 1993.
He graduated from Clinton Community College and SUNY Plattsburgh before moving away 14 years ago.
Rosenquest spent time in San Francisco and in Minneapolis, where he met his wife. He later earned his master’s of business administration from the University of Washington.
He is part owner of SeattleBurlap, a business that collects used coffee bags for reuse in gardening, farming and landscaping.
He is also the founder and owner of Bicycle Heroes, a business that supplies clothing and accessories for bikers who commute to work.
Rosenquest said he has stayed connected to Plattsburgh through family and friends and sees the city as a place of great potential.
“I want to build a foundation of fiscal stability that will last for the next 10 to 20 years,” he said.
“It will take some work and some creative ways, but I think we can sustain a budget that is good for city workers and taxpayers.”
Rosenquest said a key will be to attract more people and businesses to the city.
“We need to focus our efforts to increase revenue for the city, which, in turn, leads to lowering taxes for homeowners and businesses,” he said.
“As the mayor, I will work with arts, entertainment and cultural groups to ensure the downtown area is fully available for events that attract tourism and visitors.”
Tiffer, 29, has been on the council from Ward 2 since 2011.
In a statement released Monday, Tiffer’s camp said they will wait to see if Rosenquest actually gets on the ballot.
“If there comes a point in time when he (Rosenquest) does get on the ballot, Mark welcomes the opportunity to engage that individual, and he believes that after any discussion, the voters will decide that Mark Tiffer is the best candidate,” the statement said.
Calnon has been on the council since 2007 from Ward 4 and has served as mayor pro tem and budget officer since then.
“We have another candidate who is running, and he is talking about new and change, but without having been here the past 14 years, I am not sure he knows what the issues are,” Calnon said.
“The mayor’s chair is not a place for on-the-job training.”
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