Please vote to keep Peggy McQuaid and Rochelle Nason on the city council


It’s time again for one of my intermittent blog posts. This one is on an important topic — the city council and why it’s in the interest of Albany to keep Peggy McQuaid and Rochelle Nason on the job. Peggy and Rochelle have proven to be dedicated, objective, thoughtful and hardworking. I don’t think the city council can afford to lose either of them.

Peggy is Albany’s #1 public citizen. A lifetime resident of our town, she has contributed more of herself to the city’s well-being than anyone that I know. She has contributed over the years through her participation in many of the city’s advisory boards and other civic organizations. Yet when she was elected, Peggy gave up her memberships in several of these organizations because she felt she need to be fair and objective, and because she needed to be free of all of potential conflicts of interest. Peggy has taken her responsibilities seriously and has been an excellent mayor. But don’t take my word for it. Her endorsements include almost off the living former mayors of Albany, and many of the local mayors from our surrounding communities.

It’s one thing to like and respect some one like Peggy, whom I’ve known for years and who I often agree with. It’s another thing to like and respect someone who you more often disagree with. But that summarizes my feelings about Rochelle Nason, who was not someone I knew when she joined the council, but who has earned my respect over the the last few years. I especially appreciate her legal background, which has particularly come in handy in our closed sessions, when we discuss legally complex issues that require confidentiality under state law. She possesses managerial expertise from having running large organizations. Rochelle also has an impressive list of endorsers.

As council members, we do not have power as an individuals. We only have power as a group. Good city council members tend to be self-effacing team players who, when given the chance to talk about their victories, will instead share the credit with many other people. They use the pronoun “we” more than “I.” Peggy and Rochelle both have this quality, and it’s one that is essential for the smooth functioning of a city council.These qualities do not stand opposed to providing leadership. Real leadership is not about grandstanding — it’s about getting stuff done.

Peggy and Rochelle have another critical ability — the ability to stand back, set their personal feelings aside, and take a dispassionate view of the needs of the city. Too often in the past, city council seats have been treated as sinecures from which to launch favors for friends and to advocate for pet projects. Fortunately, on our current city council this tendency has been minimized. It will stay that way if Peggy and Rochelle are re-elected.

Peggy and Rochelle have both agreed to abide by Albany’s voluntary campaign spending cap of $6,000. That’s far more than I ever spent on a campaign to get elected in Albany, but sadly, far less than some other candidates have spent. In a town of Albany’s size, people power is what should count in running for office, not dollars.

In 2020, the three current male members of the city council, Peter Maass, Nick Pilch and myself, will all be termed-out (we’ll be ineligible to run again because of term limits). That means in two years, we’ll have a council with three brand new members. I’ll be much more comfortable leaving the council then if I know that our two current dedicated, long-serving female council members will be there to help smooth the transition.

Please vote for Peggy and Rochelle for city council.