PLATTSBURGH — In November, the City of Plattsburgh will vote for its next mayor and, so far, three Democrats say they'll be vying for a spot in the June primary.
On the list was incumbent Mayor Colin Read, downtown businessman Tenzin Dorjee and local student Miles N. Davis.
To get in on the primary, any mayor hopeful would need signatures from at least 5 percent of City of Plattsburgh voters registered within their respective party.
Clinton County Board of Elections Republican Commissioner Greg Campbell said candidates could start seeking those petitions as of Tuesday, Feb. 25.
The window to file the names, he added, would be from Monday, March 30 to Thursday, April 2, and the primary election would be Tuesday, June 23.
As of early January, no Republican candidates had been announced for the 2020 race.
When Dorjee, owner and operator of the The Himalaya Restaurant on Margaret Street, announced his campaign late last year, he had planned to run as an Independent to support his nonpartisan views.
By early January 2020, though, the restaurant owner had joined the Democrats, saying it would up his chances of appearing on the fall ballot.
An Independent candidate would need signatures from 5 percent of all City of Plattsburgh voters, Campbell said.
"For me to get on the ballot, it would have been twice as difficult — if not more," Dorjee said. "The way I look at it, it really doesn't matter what party you run with, as long as the candidate is somebody who is good.
“When you’re talking about small-town politics, I'm more focused on serving the people, rather than a specific party line.”
Which was why the city resident hoped to get all possible endorsements.
"To be very honest," he said, "I would like to get the Republican endorsement, too."
In early December, Dorjee hosted a campaign launch that attracted about 40 to 50 people and, since the start of his campaign, the restaurant owner said city dwellers have voiced one major concern: a lack of transparency.
"City government has become very complicated," he said. "We need to uncomplicate things. Let's put everything in such a way that every constituent can understand it."
That way, he added, the community would be more apt to participate.
"It will be more chaotic," Dorjee said, "but that's what democracy is all about."
Looking ahead, the restaurant owner said he planned to organize small-scale meetings to support one-on-one conversations with constituents.
Though fellow mayor hopeful Miles N. Davis said smaller events would be his approach, as well, he also said a larger get-together would be coming soon.
The 22-year-old announced his run for mayor late last year and has been making his rounds since.
In that time, he said, some community members have commented on his age.
"The number one concern about my campaign is that I'm young and, at least locally, inexperienced," he said.
But Davis, who graduated from Peru Central High School in 2015, felt it was an advantage.
"It gives me time to grow into the job itself," he said. "It shows that the new generation is getting ready to take over."
THE DURKEE LOT
Davis has commented on some local upset over the city's Downtown Revitalization Initiative, including the $4.3 million redevelopment of the Durkee Street parking lot.
Some community members have voiced concern with the developer's plan to build a multi-use project there and, per his campaign website, Davis would like to see the City of Plattsburgh pull out of that deal.
"That money will go into infrastructure, local downtown business and maybe public transportation," he says in a blog post on his website.
Like Dorjee, Davis said he hoped to snag some endorsements, as well, including that of the Working Families Party.
JOB AT HAND
As the incumbent, and with the election still 10 months away, Mayor Read said he remained focused on "creating a more sustainable city, rather than campaigning."
"As I do each day, I continue to work on the list of things we need to do to improve the city, continue to make it more affordable by lowering the tax rate and position Plattsburgh for growth.
"We all know the challenges the city has faced and we have all seen the steady turnaround," Read continued. "This will be a key year for putting in place the various elements of the DRI, the Harborside rebirth, more roadbuilding and city operations improvements that will sow the seeds for this new decade.
"I'm excited about the opportunities for the city, and am pleased by this year's Common Council. We shall see a lot of improvements to our city in 2020."
ON THE LOOKOUT
On Thursday, Jan. 23, the Clinton County Republican Committee will hold its endorsement meeting.
In a news release, Chairman Clark Currier said that county committee was still looking for a City Mayor candidate.
Other candidates were being sought for opening seats on the New York State Assembly and New York State Senate, as well.
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