Talking with the Republican, Green, and Conservative candidates for Albany mayor

albany mayoral candidates 2013 calhoun portelli sullivan
Jesse Calhoun, Theresa Portelli, Joe Sullivan

As you know, one of the offices up for election in Tuesday's election is mayor of Albany, an important election for a lot people -- whether they live in the city, work in the city, or just go there often. And as you also know, voter enrollment in the city heavily Democratic -- so the winner of September's Democratic primary, current city treasurer Kathy Sheehan, is in position to take the election. (Here's an interview with her from just before the primary.)

Pretty much every candidate will tell you they're in a race to win it. But even if victory is a long shot, there are other reasons to run -- maybe most importantly, getting alternative ideas out there and focusing attention on topics a candidate thinks should be getting more of the spotlight.

So with that mind, we interviewed the other mayoral candidates with spots on the ballot: Jesse Calhoun, on the Republican line; Theresa Portelli, on the Green Party line; and Joe Sullivan, on the Conservative Party line.

Here are their answers to a handful of questions in a quick scan, pick-and-choose format.

Jesse Calhoun, Republican
Educator, works with 3-4-5 year olds. Also in a band called The Ameros. "That kind of gives me a unique perspective on being connected to so many small businesses, like coffee shops, and night life industry, just seeing so much of it pick up and leave." An Albany resident for six years.

Theresa Portelli, Green
A retired state employee who worked in the juvenile justice and child welfare field. "I'm very familiar with complex, multi, multi million dollar systems, budgets, staffing, and also social problems. ... I am committed to making whatever system I'm involved in better. And I can do it -- I've done it before." An Albany resident for about 30 years.

Joe Sullivan, Conservative
Founder of the Buckingham Pond Neighborhood Association. An Albany resident for about 40 years.

Candidates were interviewed separately and their answers grouped by question for easy scanning. Interviews were edited and condensed.

To see the answers to each question, please click the text of each question -- the text of the answer will be revealed below it. (You can also roll the answer back up by clicking the question again.)

Why should be the next mayor of Albany?

What are the most important issues facing the city?

What idea or approach do you bring to the table that the other candidates don't?

What idea or approach do you bring to the table that the other candidates don't?

What idea or approach do you bring to the table that the other candidates don't?


Oh dear.

Sullivan pulls out the "Mayor Emeritus Jennings" just about every time he's interviewed. Has anyone ever followed up with him on that? Has he actually spoken to Jennings about this? Does he know for a fact that he's willing to work for him? For free?

Holy paranoia, Batman.

And hey, go Theresa! Any candidate wanting to tackle the smell of the dump is OK in my book. I'll tell you, the two worst smells on our recent cross-country road trip were oil refineries out west and our welcome home from the Albany dump when we exited the Thruway.

@Emeritus --

I asked Joe directly a couple of months ago when I first read "Elect me, you get Jennings." Joe basically said Jennings was aware of Joe's offer/intent (to hire him for $1 a year) -- presumably from reading quotes like that in the media -- and that Jennings had not come out and said no publically. Which I guess Optimistic Joe takes as a yes, or an in-the-realm-of-possibility not-no. So I inferred there has been no actual in person meeting or phone call with any kind of understanding with Jennings re: accepting a key role in a Sullivan administration.

Joe, if I'm wrong about that, we could all use some clarification on that point.

Chrisck Kathy Sheehan claims that Governor Cuomo has
endorsed her. Where is the letterhead from his
office. His signature? The photo of the two together?

Is that a plus or minus for her campaign? For his?

Time will tell.

Jerry Jennings loves his home town and the job
of being Mayor. As Mayor Emeritus, Jerry Jennings
can continue his life's work, free of the constraints
of party line discipline.

If Albany voters elect me Mayor, November 5, the
clarification you seek will occur.

Joe Sullivan

@Joe -- True enough that the Cuomo endorsement comes from her press release, but with a quote (apparently/supposedly/allegedly -- however you wish to interpret it) from Cuomo actually endorsing her.

"Cuomo cited Sheehan’s dedicated approach to solving municipal issues with a regional focus. 'Kathy Sheehan — as a vice president at a successful medical device manufacturer and as Albany City Treasurer — has been a leader in finding common ground in working to develop innovative solutions to tough problems and situations. It is time to stand united to move Albany to its next great chapter. I look forward to working with Kathy as we continue to open New York for business and I endorse her for Mayor of Albany,' said Gov. Cuomo."

And, yup, Cuomo has not denied or contradicted this press release, like Jennings has not denied your press statements.

I'm not turning this into a "birther" quest to see in hand an official document proving either Cuomo's support of Sheehan, or Jennings interest in joining your administration. I just hoped for a more clear-cut expression that Jerry has actually expressed that interest, not just the idea that he "can" continue his life's work.

But, you are right -- time will tell and it'll be a moot point in another 15 hours.

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