Former President of Union Roger Hull announced last Wednesday that he would be running for mayor of Schenectady, marking the second time he has run for the position. Hull was the president of Union from 1990 to 2005.
During Hull’s previous mayoral run, his opponent, Mayor Gary McCarthy, edged him out for the position by only 89 votes. That race was Hull’s first political campaign.
McCarthy and Hull will face off again during this next race, as McCarthy seeks a second term in office. This year’s race is expected to be even closer, as Hull has gained the support of the Republican Party and Alliance Party, which Hull created, while McCarthy is the incumbent.
In an interview on Wednesday, Hull criticized McCarthy’s time as mayor, arguing that he has not done enough during his term to improve the city. “Our neighborhoods are crumbling, our streets are a disgrace and crime is rampant, and we feel we can do better.”
He also targeted McCarthy on the topic of taxes in Schenectady: “When you look at what’s happening with taxes, they’ve been going up, and when you look at home values, they’ve gone down … we’re paying taxes on homes that are over-assessed by some 23 percent.”
McCarthy defended himself against Hull’s comments, arguing that crime has gone down during his term in office. He recognized how taxes in the city are high, but stated, “I’ve mapped out a plan where we’re creating businesses here, we’re doing revitalization of the neighborhoods. It’s a slow, incremental process.”
In McCarthy’s State of the City address in January, he spoke about recent revitalization projects carried out in the city. “We revitalized lower State Street with investments by the city, Metroplex and National Grid of over $4 million. In addition, $14 million was spent on the rebuilding of Erie Boulevard. We have successfully transformed the western entrance to the city.”
McCarthy also spoke about the casino project in Schenectady, which he predicts will bring not only construction jobs, but also full-time positions, tourism revenue and common space like walking and biking paths for residents.
Hull has been a resident of Schenectady for 25 years. Since leaving the office of president of Union in 2005, Hull has founded the Help Yourself Foundation. The mission of the foundation is to, “To change the lives of disadvantaged grade-school children through the creation of after-school academies on college campuses.”
While it is expected that others may enter the race for the position, the main battle is predicted to be between McCarthy and Hull.