Many students may have seen the signs scattered around Schenectady residents’ driveways advertising a familiar name for town mayor.
Former Union president Roger Hull is running for mayor for the second time, opposing Democrat and incumbent Gary McCarthy.
Last Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015, Hull and McCarthy sparred at a mayoral debate at Proctors Theatre. According to the Times Union, some things the candidates touched upon were safety, city finances and distressed properties.
The election takes place on Nov 3. Four years ago, McCarthy slid by Hull by a mere 89 votes.
According to his website, Hull is a “graduate of Dartmouth College, Yale Law School and the University of Virginia.” He has been a “corporate lawyer, counsel to the Governor of Virginia, a member of the US delegation that negotiated an international agreement on the oceans, a college president for 24 years at Beloit and Union, and founder/president of the Help Yourself Foundation.”
In his 15 years as president of Union, Hull stated on his website that he spearheaded many initiatives to benefit the campus and Schenectady community, including bringing the hockey team to Division I status and establishing a weekend of service in Schenectady for Union students.
In an interview on Oct. 11, Hull stated, “My work at Union was, in many respects, a first step for what I am doing now. Although I can think of a half dozen college presidents who, during my 24 years as a president, were involved in trying to turn their cities around, I am the only one who tried to do so twice — first at Beloit College and then at Union.”
He stated that, in both instances, he formed or formed with others a distinct plan to turn around the city in which the college was located. These efforts came together in the form of Beloit 2000 in Wisconsin and Schenectady 2000 here.
Hull stated that “at Union, after extensive conversations with the Board of Trustees, I convinced the Board to invest $26 million into Seward Place and the area to the west that includes the soccer field and College Park Hall.”
By the time he left, Union had acquired four to five dozen properties, almost all of which were decrepit, and crime and drug infested. He then stated that “as mayor, I would look to replicate the concept of neighborhood revitalization that was used in that area in other city neighborhoods.”
If Hull is elected, he states that he would “seek to address the issues of the highest taxes in the Capital District and falling property values, high crime, low high school graduation rates and neighborhood revitalization — all of which are tied together.”
In short, he explained that if property values are to rise and taxes fall, we need to reduce crime, improve graduation rates and revitalize our neighborhoods.
In regards to crime, Hull believes that Schenectady needs more “boots on the ground” and that we need to require more police officers to live within the city, because many do not, as of now.
Hull also said that he eliminated crime in the College Park neighborhood by providing an apartment gratis for a member of the police department.
Finally, in response to how he takes his coffee, Hull shared a unique approach: “I have had a grand total of one cup in my life. My exciting hot drink of choice is hot water, which I take straight.”
A few Union students have been very involved in Hull’s campaign: Jeremy Sagaille ’15 designed his website, and Brittany Kenny ’16 has managed Hull’s social media outreach. Students are also volunteering at his headquarters, located at 433 Liberty St.
Hull encourages students to check out his website and inquire, if interested.