Andrea Shaut wants to be Kingston’s first alderwoman-at-large

Andrea Shaut (photo by Phyllis McCabe)

A one-term alderwoman will seek to replace outgoing Alderman-at-Large James Noble, and become the first woman in Kingston’s history to occupy the number-two post in city government.

Andrea Shaut (D-Ward 9) announced her run the post this week after Noble announced that he would not seek a fourth four-year term. Shaut will run alongside Democratic incumbent Mayor Steve Noble.

“I’ve been thinking about one of the leadership roles for a few months,” said Shaut this week. “Jim was going back and forth about whether he was going to run again. When he decided not to, I decided to do it.”

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The alderman-at-large serves as deputy mayor and president of the Common Council. They have the power to make committee assignments, create new committees and introduce new legislation. The alderman-at-large is also the first in the line of succession if the mayor’s office becomes vacant. Noble has held the post since 2002 when he was appointed to office following the death of then-mayor T.R. Gallo and the ascension of then-alderman-at-large Jim Sottile to the mayor’s post.

Shaut is a classically trained pianist and professional musician whose gigs include serving as accompanist to the United States Military Academy Glee Club and leader of an award-winning wedding band. Shaut said her experience as a musical entrepreneur, and her close study of the council and city departments, qualifies her for the job. “I think it’s a role that would suit my skill set,” said Shaut.

Mayor Steve Noble said Wednesday that Shaut had proved to be an able and energetic member of the council who would serve the city well as his deputy. Noble praised Shaut’s ability to listen to and weigh all sides of an issue while fighting for her beliefs.

“She does her homework, she works well with her constituents and she’s been willing to get involved with some of the deeper issues that we deal with,” said Noble. 

Hirsch in, Carey out

Michele Hirsch, a social worker for Family of Woodstock, said this week she will seek Shaut’s Ninth Ward council seat. Former majority leader and Ward 5 Alderman Bill Carey, who’s been on the council since 2012 and, besides Jim Noble, is the body’s longest-serving member, announced that he would not seek a fourth two-year term.

“I don’t think this is a job that benefits the people or the candidate if you stay in too long. It’s good to have fresh faces, new ideas and different voices,” wrote Carey in an email. “I have no regrets. I met and worked with a lot of great people and forged some wonderful friendships.”

Democrats are expected to nominate a candidate for Carey’s Fifth Ward seat at their convention on Feb. 20. Six other Democratic incumbents: Jeffrey Ventura Morell (Ward 1), Majority Leader Rennie Scott-Childress (Ward 3), Doug Koop (Ward 2), Rita Worthington (Ward 4), Tony Davis (Ward 6) and Steve Schabot (Ward 8) are expected to seek re-election. The council’s sole non-Democrat, Seventh Ward Alderman Patrick O’Reilly did not respond to an email regarding his re-election plans. O’Reilly is not enrolled in a political party. He was elected in 2017 running on the GOP-aligned “Restore Kingston Pride” slate but subsequently declined the role of council minority leader.

Democrats currently hold 13 of 14 elected offices representing the City of Kingston.  Brian Woltman, who works as the city’s purchasing agent and represents Kingston’s District 7 in the County Legislature, will seek a second two-year term running on the Republican line. He will face a challenge from Democrat Peter Criswell. Two Democratic incumbents representing Kingston, Lynn Eckert and Dave Donaldson, will also seek re-election to the county legislature. Noble, who coined the “One Kingston” label in his 2015 campaign, said the slate would continue its efforts to address issues facing the city in an equitable and consensus-driven way. 

“When I came up with that slogan four years ago we had been seeing a lot of division among our community and our elected officials,” said Noble. “We have one city and we all want to see it move forward and for everyone in our community to thrive.”

So far, Woltman is the only Kingston Republican to announce election plans. Kingston Republican Committee Chairman Chuck Polacco said that the committee would nominate candidates at an informal meeting ahead of the county GOP’s Feb. 23 convention. “Right now, there’s nobody I can name.” said Polacco.

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