PLATTSBURGH — Independent Jacob Avery will vie for a spot on the City of Plattsburgh Common Council in the coming fall election.
The Ward 2 resident will run against incumbent Mike Kelly, a Democrat, who confirmed Wednesday that he planned to run for his seat once again.
Kelly's first three-year term on the council was from 2008 to 2011. The Tennessee native was re-elected to the City of Plattsburgh body in the 2013 election and has held his seat since.
"After this term I wouldn't be allowed to run again, unless I took a term off, but I think that's pretty much it for me," Kelly told The Press-Republican.
"We still have some important, unfinished business, as a city, to take care of and I think I can help with that — I want to anyway."
Kelly said he hoped to earn the Working Families Party endorsement for the 2020 ballot.
Avery, originally from Central New York, hoped to get that endorsement, as well.
The 33-year-old said he'd also be vying for support from the Republican Party line, and possibly the Democratic one, too.
"If I do," he said of the latter, "there could be a primary election."
Any candidates for City Common Council can start collecting signatures in February.
Should there be a primary race, that election would be scheduled for Tuesday, June 23.
The general election will be Tuesday, Nov. 3.
TRUE, POSITIVE CHANGE
Avery first graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh in 2008 before he returned to his alma mater and earned a master's degree in student affairs and higher education.
The candidate has a master's degree in public administration from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, as well.
Avery also works at SUNY Plattsburgh, serving in the local college's Center for Student Involvement.
"I work with student government, orientation and run the student union," he said, adding that he has held the role since 2014.
Prior to joining the college's staff, Avery spent some time in New Hampshire with Americorps VISTA.
"We were helping low-income individual students find affordable college options," he said. "In this arena I truly learned the importance of speaking with every member of the community.
"That is the only way to make true, positive change"
MORE GREEN SPACE
In running for city councilor, Avery hoped to up the current city government's transparency via a "humancentric" approach.
"I feel that humanity is gone from the city government and I'd like to bring some of that back," he said.
In knocking on neighbors's doors, the SUNY Plattsburgh grad said the city's state-funded Downtown Revitalization Initiative has been a talking point.
"It has been a black hole for the conversation," he said.
In reference to the Durkee Street redevelopment, Avery said city officials have said people would be drawn to the city to live in the Prime Plattsburgh LLC development that has been slated for that site.
"My concern with that is, where will they be coming from? I feel like the Durkee Street lot could be better served as a green space," he said. "In many ways, I disagree 100 percent with the direction it's in."
Many city residents also said the municipality had good bones, Avery said.
"I agree," the candidate added. "The City of Plattsburgh has such a strong foundation to make more change and has so much potential.
"With some more communication, specifically with business leaders, we can make Plattsburgh much stronger."
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