By Doug La Rocque
It started last Thursday when four term County Executive Kathy Jimino announced she had decided not to seek re-election to a fifth four-year term, and threw her support behind Grafton resident and Deputy County Executive Chris Meyer as her successor. [private] At the retirement dinner Saturday night for former Rensselaer County Legislator Lester Goodermote, the district’s other representative and Legislative Chairman Stan Brownell stunned the room with the announcement that he too will be retiring from political office. The decisions not to seek re-election by the top two office holders in the County will change the political landscape, and may spawn a primary for the Republican Party line for County Executive.
Chris Meyer formally announced his candidacy on Tuesday May 16 at the Speigletown Fire House, telling his supporters he would have been perfectly happy to continue serving as deputy, and called Jimino “the best County Executive our County has ever had.” Meyer said “if the voters so decide, I intend to continue the hallmark of our County’s government, that being the smooth delivery of services, at the lowest possible cost to the taxpayers. Speaking at Meyer’s announcement ceremony, County Executive Jimino said “Chris Meyer has been at my side for 13 years, with many of the innovations and positive programs you see before you today, being at his initiation. He knows the County, knows the government and more importantly knows the people, and will truly be a great County Executive.”
The 107th District State Representative has also said he would contest for the Republican line this November, and has started speaking out about his credentials and plans should he be elected. He has told published reports that he would serve the county the way he has served his legislative district and would look forward to an opportunity to fight for taxpayers against unfunded state mandates. McLaughlin has launched a Facebook page and the Assemblyman has been a vocal critic of Governor Andrew Cuomo, in particular over the Governor’s handling of the Hoosick Falls water crisis. To date, McLaughlin has picked up the backing of former Republican Gubernatorial Candidate and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino as well as Rensselaer County Independence Party Chair Thomas Connolly Jr.
Besides Jimino’s endorsement, Meyers has picked up the backing of Rensselaer County Legislative Majority Leader Ken Herrington, as well as the Grafton and Pittstown Republican committees. If both candidates stay in the race, it will most likely mean a primary battle for the Republican nod in September. Rensselaer County’s Democratic Committee did not respond to The Eastwick Press’ request for comment by press time.
County Executive Jimino cited the need to spend more time with her family and to volunteer with other community interests in her address. She was appointed County Executive in 2001 when Henry Zwack was removed from office, and won four terms outright, the last three of which were unopposed.
Hoosick Falls’ Stan Brownell Stepping Down
Brownell was first elected to the legislature in 1997 and won reelection four more times, along the way becoming the Vice Chairman in 2010, and was elevated to Chairman in 2016. In his press release, Mr. Brownell said “serving the people of Eastern Rensselaer County and my hometown of Hoosick has been an honor and a privilege. It has also been an honor to serve as chair of the Legislature and work with fellow elected officials to serve our residents and our County.” Brownell is being joined in his political retirement by the current Vice Chairman, Alex Shannon. Both men expressed their interest to spend more time with their families as the driving reason behind their decision.
The Legislature’s fifth district encompasses the Towns of Hoosick, Petersburgh, Grafton, Berlin and Stephentown. Earlier this year, Jeff Wysocki of Hoosick was appointed to the legislature as the replacement for Goodermote. He is expected to seek election to the seat outright this November. To this point, there has been no public word as to who the Republican Party will choose to run for Brownell’s seat. [/private]