NISKAYUNA: Their hats are in the ring

It's slated to be a battle of familiar faces in Niskayuna this year with two well known candidates set to face each other in a contest for the town supervisor's seat.

One of them, the Republican-backed J. Briggs McAndrews, has never run for public office before but did a 10-year stint as superintendent of Niskayuna's school system.

The other, Democratic Party activist Joe Landry, is in his first run for town office but previously sought a county legislative seat in 2003.

The 63-year old McAndrews has spent the past three years working for the New York State Council of School Superintendents and explained his decision to run by saying he is looking forward to once again serving the Niskayuna community.

I have more than 30 years of experience in managing complex public organizations, and I really do believe that there are certain skills you can bring to that type responsibility that do make a difference, he said. "And I'm looking forward to the opportunity to once again give something back to the Niskayuna community."

Landry, a 49-year old private attorney with three children who has lived in town with his wife for about nine years, said he is looking forward to the campaign and is committed to being a full-time supervisor if elected.

"I'm still developing a platform on specific issues, but I've been very active in the Democratic Party since moving into Niskayuna about nine or 10 years ago and I know that we need to have responsive local government that connects with people," Landry said.

While McAndrews and Landry have cleared their initial hurdles in securing backing from the two major parties in town, that support will not be complete until campaign volunteers hit the streets in June and gather enough petition signatures to secure each candidate a position on the ballot. Then each side faces the possibility of a primary challenge, but the leaders for both Democrats and Republicans don't expect one.

The dynamics of the campaign changed dramatically a month ago when incumbent Supervisor Luke Smith decided not to seek reelection to the $53,800 post. A longtime Democratic Party standard bearer, Smith has become a lightning rod for controversy recently after casting the deciding vote in support of a special-use permit allowing construction of a shopping mall at the site of Ingersoll Home for the Aged. Opponents of the project have filed a lawsuit against the town and the matter is still pending in state Supreme Court.""

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