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Primary brews on Independence line

Longtime Indy figure Ken Champagne secures party endorsement

— The Albany County Independence Party is breaking with tradition and electing to endorse one of its own members rather than Democrat and incumbent Paula Mahan for the office of Colonie supervisor.

Colonie Independence Party Committee Chairman Ken Champagne has secured the party’s endorsement, and Independence voters will choose between him and Mahan in a September primary. Albany County Independence Party Chairman Paul Caputo said a Wilson Pakula has been granted to allow Mahan to primary on that line.

“This is an exciting thing for this primary with two people who are passionate about Colonie,” Caputo said.

Mahan is running for her fourth two-year term as supervisor, and was endorsed by the Independence Party in all her prior runs. This is the second time Champagne’s name will be on the ballot for this position. His first time, he ran against former supervisor Mary Brizzell.

“Ken’s a great guy,” Caputo said. “He’s been a member of my executive committee since 1996. (He’s) passionate about Colonie and his issues. I’ve known him for many years.”

Champagne, who works in real estate, said the chief plank in his platform will be a ward system for the Town Board, in which each member would be elected to represent a geographic district.

He added another idea that needs “strict attention” is a fourth justice in Colonie Town Court.

“Our court system is overwhelmed. We have the highest volume court system in the Capital District. The three judges are continuously overwhelmed,” Champagne said.

Champagne said the judges have “begged for years” to have an additional judge but Mahan “will not do anything about it.”

“We’re way beyond the time when we need an additional judge to handle the traffic. I’ll be getting into that more as we go along,” Champagne said.

Champagne argued he has more management experience than Mahan, too.

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