George Scaringe at his official announcement to run for Colonie town supervisor (Jim Franco / Spotlight News)
COLONIE — In the parking lot of the West Albany Italian Benevolent Society, and across Exchange Street from where he grew up, George Scaringe officially announced his candidacy for town supervisor.
The Republican with a track record spanning more than five decades in local and state politics is endorsed by the Republican and Conservative parties and will take on six-term incumbent Paula Mahan when voters head to the polls in November.
Surrounded by about 40 family members and supporters, Scaringe said he would run a professional, well-funded campaign and bring new ideas to Town Hall.
“As I embark on one of the biggest challenges of my political career I return to where it all began, right here, to kick off my campaign for supervisor and begin my journey in Town Hall,” he said. “I have no allusions. It’s not going to be easy, they have a pocket full of dirty tricks. But seldom is anything worthwhile that is easy.”
Scaringe was the Albany County chairman and in 2016 he was elected chair of the Town of Colonie Republican Party. On his resume he can boast getting a Republican elected as county executive, Michael Hoblock, despite the Democrats having an overwhelming enrollment advantage, and getting Fred Fields elected as town supervisor.
He touched on infrastructure needs like pot holes and town facilities, taxes and traffic congestion and development, which has been one of the more controversial points of the Mahan administration, as it is in any town.
“Our town, Colonie, has fallen on some rough times. Year after year we are hit with taxes that are just a little higher. They say taxes are not going up, but there are these little tweaks here and they keep going up and up,” he said. “There is enough money generated in this town that is not explained. We have to figure out where the money comes from, where it goes and find more money for infrastructure.
Our town facilities are neglected and are in disrepair while our quality of life is diminished because of traffic and run away development. We deserve better. We need leadership that allows Colonie to reach its full potential and break the chains of political nepotism that is rampant in Town Hall.”
Scaringe, a real estate broker, pledged to only serve two two-year terms if elected.
“A new dawn is coming to Colonie whether you believe it or not. It will allow us to grow and reverse the trends that have led to the decay of our town. That begins right here in the same neighborhood and the same street where I began my life,” he said. “We will make this town a destination for families who seek a better life. To make it a more affordable and convenient home to seniors. But we will also to say no when it is necessary. To Stand up to any project or plan that seeks to erode the quality of life in our town. We need developers but they have to tell us, in my administration, ‘what makes your project better for Colonie?’”
Mahan, a Democrat, has won six times in a row in what was a Republican stronghold in the otherwise Democrat dominated Albany County. Two years ago, she beat Frank Mauriello, now the minority leader of the Albany County Legislature.
Mauriello introduced Scaringe at the announcement, who said Republicans throughout history have been the ones who bring.
“When you look back at history, and at the people who came out of the woodwork and helped us during challenging times, what do they all have in common? They are all Republican and George is a Republican and he will bring it back to the greatness it was,” he said. “It was the Republican Party that grew this town. It was the Republican Party that made this town great. Unfortunately the polish, the shine, is coming off the apple and we need someone to bring it back.”
Mahan beat Mauriello with 53 percent of the vote.
“Since becoming supervisor in 2008, I have always put forth my best efforts to stay true to my platform, open government, accountability, and fiscal responsibility,” Mahan said in a statement when the party picked its slate of candidates. “We have come a long way since 2008. The town is on the right track and it continues to move in a positive direction. I am proud of my accomplishments and I know there is more work to be done.”
There are also three Town Board seats up for grabs. Republican Chris Cary will seek re-election as will Democrat Paul Rosano.
The other two Republican candidates are Rick Field, the owner of a real estate company whose father, Fred Field, served as town supervisor for 18 years; and Danielle Futia, the director of hospitality at Carondelet Hospitality Center, located in the St. Joseph’s Provincial House.
The Democrats picked Brian Austin, who serves on the Planning Board, and Jill Penn, who works at the South Colonie School District and is married to the town’s Democratic Party Chair George Penn.
Board members Linda Murphy and Melissa Jeffers Von Dollen, both Democrats, and Republican David Green are not up for elections. Republican Jennifer Whalen opted to not run again and is instead running for a seat on the Albany County Legislature.
The supervisor serves a two-year term and the position pays $123,006 a year. The Town Board is a four-year term and it pays $21,479 a year.