To the Editor:
On a local level Albany County faces many of the challenges that our larger society confronts.
Partisan gerrymandering, whether practiced by “our side” or by “the other guys,” has become so pervasive that it has seriously undermined the legitimacy of the democratic process and of the policies, laws and regulations that flow from that process. The climate is changing, not just “out there”, in some far-away or exotic place as seen on the nightly news, but here, where the Monarch butterflies and the fireflies don’t show up the way they used to. And while it’s great that more people want to raise their children here, just as we did, it’s also difficult to watch many of our local farms, and open space in general, be transformed into yet another subdivision.
And so I think we need to elect local officials who can perceive how these and other national problems are expressed locally, and who understand that yes, there are things we can do to confront those problems. That we cannot just wait for national solutions to filter down to the smaller places, like Bethlehem or Albany County, where people like us actually live. This work also needs to be built from the ground up.
That’s why I’m supporting Jeff Kuhn’s bid to represent the 35th District in the Albany County Legislature in the Democratic primary on June 25.
Albany County has repeatedly faced legal challenges to its legislative districting, and it has repeatedly lost those challenges. It’s past time for the county to end its long tradition of partisan redistricting and gerrymandering. This is the first issue on Jeff’s platform, and it is perhaps the most important.
Secondly, at a minimum, the county should ensure that all of its new construction is energy efficient, that Albany works towards the sustainability and resiliency of its infrastructure, and that it supports the creation of jobs that are grounded in the growing, green economy. These standards, which are also a part of Jeff’s platform, will help us to avoid much more costly remediation and operational impacts in the not too distant future and can also align the county’s economic future with industries that are growing.
And finally, what I think we need at an even more basic level is to identify and elect political leaders who have respect for the thoughts and opinions of the people they represent, and who have the humility to listen. We need, perhaps nowhere more than in Albany County, representatives who genuinely want to be of service and who are willing to work with people with whom they disagree. I have had the good fortune to work with Jeff since 2012 to transform Bethlehem’s Democratic Committee into a more open and representative party. His leadership, good judgment and inherent sense of fairness were indispensable in that effort. I know he will bring those same qualities to his work as an Albany County legislator.