Cahill, Jacobs, Polacco, Turco-Levin seek GOP line

When Mayor James Sottile announced in January that he would not seek a third full term in office, city Republicans saw their best shot in two decades at taking back the mayor’s office. But if a card-carrying member of the GOP wants to sit in the city’s big chair, she or he will have to make it through a grueling four-way primary fight next Tuesday, Sept. 13 — a fight which could leave the party fatally sundered come November.
The Republican candidates include two current aldermen: first-termer and Common Council Minority Leader Andi Turco-Levin (R-Ward 1) and Ron Polacco who gave up a shot at a third term representing the Sixth Ward to take a shot at the mayor’s office.
Former sixth ward alderman and 2007 mayoral candidate Richard Cahill Jr. and onetime school board president and community activist Jean Jacobs round out the primary scrum.
Of the four, Cahill is the only one who has experience running for citywide office. In 2007, he ran his campaign largely as a sustained assault on the policies and ethics of the Sottile administration. Now, with Sottile on the way out, Cahill is taking a new tack: bombarding voters with a flurry of detailed policy proposals. The plans include small-bore initiatives, like allowing residents to pay taxes in monthly installments, as well as larger initiatives like the elimination of the city’s economic development office in favor of a volunteer committee of experts in real estate and business who would advise the mayor and actively promote the city. Cahill also offered a novel take on an old economic development standby — using tax breaks to reward and encourage long-established Kingston businesses, rather than to attract new ones which may fail or fail to deliver on promises. Another proposal, aimed at the small consulting and professional businesses which dot the city, would allow proprietors who live in the same building where offices are housed pay residential, rather than the higher commercial, tax rates.
“The number-one comment I hear from people is that Sottile is going and they want change,” said Cahill, 40. “They want different ideas and a different way of doing things.”
Along with innovative policies, Cahill is basing his appeal to the party faithful on the premise that he is the only Republican in the primary who has a shot at winning the general election in November. Cahill, perhaps the most vocally ideologically conservative candidate in the GOP field, holds the Conservative party line. In his estimation, to win in Kingston where Democrats outnumber Republicans two to one, the winning candidate will have to engage voters from both parties and avoid going into November with conservative voters split between two candidates — Cahill himself on the Conservative line and a GOP primary winner. According to Cahill, Turco-Levin, a relatively non-partisan Republican who is considered his most formidable rival in the primary, could never make headway with Conservative Party voters.

There is one comment

  1. Brad Will

    As a resident and business owner, realigning the homestead/non-homestead tax structure is critical for the city’s economic health. Creating “green economy” jobs is equally important – and achievable – given some creative efforts and collaborative spirit from a new administration. I think Turco-Levin offers the best hope for acheiving these twin priorities, and I say this as a progressive Democrat.l We truly and desperately need new ideas, regardless of party affiliation.

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