If you listen to the local radio talk shows, read local online blogs and message boards, especially in Amsterdam, N.Y., you’re probably reading and listening to conversations about how this year’s election is some sort of indictment on Amsterdam Mayor Ann Thane. That may be, but that’s not what I want to blog about here.
A few weeks ago, Recorder superstar reporter Jessica Maher wrote this story about the high number of women who entered the throw-down of Amsterdam city politics.
Given the boys-only club history of city politics, it’s great to see that gender barriers are becoming overthrown.
But there’s another aspect of this year’s election that is likely being overlooked here, and that’s the infusion of younger people into local government.
Think about it.
Gina DeRossi and Julie Pierce won Common Council races. DeRossi is 30 and Pierce is 35. Barbara Wheeler is 36 is beat a 10-year incumbent in Amsterdam’s 4th Ward for supervisor. On top of that, Karl Baia was re-elected as Amsterdam’s 5th Ward supervisor at the age of 28.
(SIDEBAR: Some of the props to Pierce and Wheeler are because I’m partial to 1992’s crop of high school graduates, especially since I’m a member of that group (Milford Central class of ’92, Wildcats forever, or never!)).
If you look beyond Amsterdam, the nearby (and more crappy) city of Gloversville just elected a 26-year-old mayor in Dayton King as mayor.
So why am I raving about the younger candidates who won on Nov. 3?
Because none of these candidates were around during Amsterdam and Gloversville’s so-called “glory days.” In fact, all them have only been around to slug through to struggles that this region has dealt with over the past few decades.
But not only have they decided to live here, all of them have thrust themselves into the public eye because they actually give a crap about the community they live in. They like this area, and they want it to do well.
You may not agree on with what this batch of “young guns” stands for, and that’s OK.
But it’s refreshing to see people of my generation, and in some cases younger, not only get involved in civic affairs, but go out and become leaders in their communities.