Learn about the Democratic candidates for Mayor of Poughkeepsie
Primary Election Day is June 27, and early voting is already underway. There are three Democratic candidates for mayor of the City of Poughkeepsie, including the current mayor.
Yvonne Flowers is a Poughkeepsie native, born and raised in the city. She has been on the city council for about eight years, and is a candidate for mayor, and believes her life experience will translate into votes.
“I have children that live here. I have grandchildren that live here. I’ve been involved in the community, helping families in the community for over decades,” Flowers said. “For me, and the work that I’ve done in this city, I’m really very invested in this community. “I lived in public housing, and I understand the struggles people went through.”
Flowers said her accomplishments as a council member include reducing gun violence and improving homeownership in the Fifth Ward. She says if she is elected mayor, she wants to advocate for the same issues for everyone in the community. On day one, she says she’ll hit the ground running.
“First thing, we’re dealing with a housing crisis. I’ve seen a lot of middle-class families leave the city and this is our hometown. What I want to do first is work on building housing for people who can afford it,” Flowers said. “And work with developers,” Flowers said. And working with our nonprofit housing partners, like Hudson River Housing and Habitat for Humanity, to try to improve homeownership in the City of Poughkeepsie.”
If Flowers is elected to office, it would make her the city’s first black mayor.
Wesley Lee also hopes to get this title. Lee is a history professor at Dutchess Community College and a longtime advocate who works with at-risk youth in Poughkeepsie with his nonprofit to help them get jobs in the city. On the campaign trail, he listened to community members who were concerned about enclave issues.
“They’re concerned about the economy. ‘We have a plan to revitalize the city of Poughkeepsie and the economy,'” Lee said. “A lot of the people we’ve talked to are concerned about the school district, and how education there needs to be improved and enhanced for our kids. They want to be involved in the things we do in the City of Poughkeepsie.
His goal is to create a coalition of partners, including council members, who can work together to address some of the biggest issues facing Poughkeepsie’s low-income families and homeless population.
“Poughkeepsie deserves better, and we will do it,” Lee said. “We want to get people in the city of Poughkeepsie, when they call city hall, to ask their council member to talk about the things they want to change, so we will be setting up an office in city hall for the first time for council members.”
Poughkeepsie Mayor Mark Nelson is running for re-election to secure a four-year term. He’s proud of what he’s been able to accomplish as mayor over the past six months, including a recent upgrade to the city’s credit rating.
“We got upgrades from Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, which for the first time in a decade or more indicates positively that the city is on the right track financially,” Nelson said. “We were one of the poorest cities in New York State, as ranked by the New York State Comptroller’s Office.”
Nelson said the city is coming back to life. He believes he is the most experienced candidate as someone who has been in the public sector for more than 20 years and because he says he serves the community.
“Across the city, we’ve seen millions of dollars invested in city parks, in our water treatment plant, in our sewer plant,” Nelson said. “And we’ve spent three times as much money on paving city streets as we have in previous years. So, it’s a really exciting time here in the city.”
Nelson says the progress made under his administration is a sign that Poughkeepsie is headed in a positive direction.
“Experience is important. This is not the time for change, and this is certainly not the time to bring someone into the mayor’s office who has not served as CEO or leader of an organization,” he said.
All eyes will be on Poughkeepsie on Primary Day as voters make their all-important decision on who they want front and center to lead the Democratic ticket.
(Tags for translation)Hudson Valley