The Independence Party is deviating from its usual support of Democratic Town Supervisor Paula Mahan to allow for a primary between Mahan and Republican candidate Christine Benedict.
For the past several elections, the Albany County Independence Party has had Mahan on its line for town supervisor, while also backing Benedict for Albany County Legislature. According to party Chairman Paul Caputo, the party decided to allow its members to vote for the party’s line in the upcoming 2016 elections.
“We’ve endorsed Paula many times in the past. We’ve endorsed Christine Benedict many times in the past as well,” said Caputo. He said the party is “looking forward to a healthy debate in the issues and letting our members decide who best represents the Independence in the elections.”
Caputo said the party is concentrating on issues such as the budget, fiscal responsibility and political reforms. He said while it is difficult on the town level, the party has backed candidates with such goals in mind in the past.
Benedict thanked the Independence Party in a released statement and commended its commitment to reform.
“I am grateful that Mr. Caputo and his Executive Committee understand that real democracy lies in the hands of the people, and that they will not be influenced or coerced into endorsing candidates based solely on previous endorsements and incumbency,” Benedict said.
At her official candidacy announcement, Benedict said she would be concentrating on not only redevelopment and infrastructure in the area and issues of heavy traffic along main roads, but also neighborhood safety and limiting contribution funds from businesses to elected officials in the Town of Colonie.
She questioned why the town has not applied for grants when Colonie is listed as qualifying. She also said she would concentrate on the town’s fund balance and applying for any assistance when needed.
Although Mahan has held the Independence line in the past few elections, she said she has been enjoying the opportunity to petition since it has given her the opportunity to expand.
“I’ve been working with the Independents…and going and getting a lot of petitions,” said Mahan. “It’s actually been a good experience. We’ve been able to meet a lot of new people.”
Overall, Mahan said her record speaks for itself, specifically with eliminating the town’s large deficit eight years ago, the steadily rising fund balance, and maintaining low taxes for residents.
Her administration has also been working to create plans with the Pure Waters Department and Department of Public Works to create long-term plans to ensure any issues with infrastructure are repaired, and that any future issues do not happen all at once, she said.
In addition, Mahan said she will be concentrating on more economic development and areas of redevelopment within the town, while working with other county and state departments to do extensive traffic studies. She said her administration works closely with residents to take in input as to what they would like to see in the town, as well.
For other town positions, Caputo said the Independence Party is endorsing incumbent Paul Rosano, who was elected for Town Board in 2012, Tim Lane, a current member of the Planning Board, and Jennifer Whalen, a new candidate.
“We’re just very excited about the primary, and we’re very excited to allow our members to choose the individual (for supervisor),” said Caputo.