Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Just call me a political nothing

I am a nothing - politically speaking, that is.

Today, Primary Day, I am not able to fully participate in our electoral process since I am not enrolled in a political party.

That wasn't always the case.

Back when I was a senior at Keveny Memorial Academy in Cohoes, one of my proudest moments was the day my Urban Affairs teacher, Sister Alethea Connolly, took a group of us to the Albany County Board of Elections to register to vote. Sister Alethea was a terrific teacher who instilled a passion for the political process in her students. While we were at the Board of Elections, she urged all of us to consider enrolling in the political party of our choice so we could fully participate in the process.

To be honest, I wanted to be able to vote in primaries, but I wasn't sure in which party to enroll. In the end, I chose the Democratic party, and, over the next few years, I enjoyed voting in the various primaries and general elections.

As the years went by and I moved into leadership roles at The Record, I decided it was inappropriate for me to be enrolled in a political party if I was going to be directing local news coverage so I dropped my party enrollment.

I knew it was the correct decision, but when primary days rolled around, I found myself remembering how much I enjoyed participating fully in our electoral process.

When I took a buyout at the end of June after 39 years at The Record, I had a lot of things on my plate and it slipped my mind that I was now free to join a political party and vote once again on Primary Day. Oh well, there's always next year.

Today, there are many competitive races on the ballot throughout our region, and I can't wait to find out who wins.

In Cohoes, my hometown, Dianne Rigney Nolin and Shawn Morse are vying for the Democratic nod to become the city's next mayor since incumbent Mayor George Primeau decided against seeking re-election. I've known Dianne for a lot of years since we were classmates at Keveny; I met Shawn many years ago, too, through my job at The Record. Both candidates deserve praise for wanting to serve their fellow citizens and help keep the Spindle City moving forward.

In Troy, my longtime professional hometown, all eyes are on the Democratic primary for mayor. Incumbent Mayor Lou Rosamilia decided not to seek a second term, and political newcomer Ernest Everett Jr., TRIP executive director Patrick Madden and City Council President Rodney Wiltshire are seeking the backing of the city's Democratic voters to go up against Republican Jim Gordon in November with the winner becoming the next mayor of the Collar City.

There are also several Green Party, Working Families Party and Independence Party primaries on the ballot in Troy today for various city positions as well as a Republican Party primary for Rensselaer County Sheriff with Pat Russo and Scott Ryan vying for the GOP nod.

And that's just a quick look at a few of the contests on the ballot today.

Voter turnout for primaries is normally notoriously low and experts are already predicting today's results will be more of the same. Do me a favor: If you are enrolled in a party with a primary on today's ballot, please get out and vote. Defy the "experts," and don't be a political nothing like me.

P.S. Since I took a buyout from The Record, I've been asked many times if I miss my job. For the most part, I honestly don't. Yes, I miss my coworkers and the people I worked with in the community over the years, but I had a terrific career for 39 years and I sincerely was ready for a new challenge. Days like today, however, I find myself a bit envious of my successor, Charlie Kraebel, who gets to plan the Primary Day coverage and work with our wonderfully talented reporters. Or maybe I'm just missing that pizza we always ordered for the newsroom on voting days. I don't think so!

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,