Please see below for the entirety of Commissioner Robin Dalton's Speech on June 9th, at Hattie's Restaurant, during her kickoff event**
(Saratoga Springs, NY): Almost exactly two years ago, I had a kickoff event for my campaign for public safety commissioner. In thinking about what I was going to say tonight, I pulled up my speech from 2019 which was really tough to read.
So much has changed since that moment. The world, our country and everything I thought about where we were headed as a city and what I would be doing in this office was totally upended. Before I address my candidacy for Mayor and why I feel a ‘community first’ based approach is so vital to our city’s success, I need to acknowledge some of the circumstances that lead us here. No department in the history of Saratoga Springs has faced as many challenges as the public safety department has faced in the last year and a half.
You can imagine that back in June of 2019, I never could have anticipated that I would find myself on the other end of a phone call just months later, being informed by Chief John Catone, that we had declared a state of emergency as a city and as outlined in our emergency management plan, I was now in charge of running the city’s response to a worldwide pandemic.
Through hours and hours of hard work and collaboration with the city council and especially with the deputies however, we were able to work through the financial crisis without having to lay off a single firefighter or police officer.
I could not stand here before you today and not acknowledge the magnitude and significance of what the men and women of the public safety department did for our city over these last 18 months and continue to do every day - their efforts in keeping our city safe under the worst imaginable circumstances are truly heroic.
I am also profoundly grateful to have had the best Chiefs, Unions, and department staff any Commissioner could possibly ask for - special thanks to Chief Joe Dolan and Chief Aaron Dyer from the Fire Department, Chief Shane Crooks and Chief John Catone from the SSPD and my fearless deputy, Eileen Finneran.
Many people, especially those who have seen what this experience has been like up close and personal, have asked why I would ever want to continue to be a public servant. In this toxic political climate, with the public scrutiny and the issues at hand, working 70-80 hours a week. But I was given an opportunity to help Saratoga Springs in a moment of total crisis, I have given it everything and my obligation is not over, in fact it has grown stronger.
Of any moment in history, now is the time to put politics aside and put the community first, because we are one city and we have one future.
Republican, Democrat, whatever your national political affiliation is, it is time to stop letting partisanship divide us locally, national ideologies have no bearing on the issues we face locally and I refuse to let the dysfunction of Washington, DC keep us from the best city we can be.
'Whether at the City Council table or in conversations with constituents, my decisions have always been based on my commitment to good governance, honesty and a persistent search for common ground and that approach will not change.'
I will not make pie in the sky promises as to what I can do if elected, my ideas and initiatives are based on actual knowledge of what our city is capable of doing - I will not mislead voters, I will not ignore your call or your voice because I am not in your political party. I will be honest. I will be direct and I will always represent all Saratogians and the wide diversity of political thought that is represented in the city.
I’d like to emphasize that the reason I can take this position with such confidence is because I am the ONLY candidate running for mayor who is powered by the people and not sponsored by a major political party. You’re going to see a lot of inauthentic campaigning from other candidates over the next few months, but make no mistake, of the 4 candidates running for Mayor, I am the only one who did the work, collected the signatures and had the courage to stand on my own without partisan support. As a result, you can vote for both myself and Adam Israel for Commissioner of Finance on the Saratoga Stronger Together ballot line on November 2nd.
Some of my priorities if elected are as follows:
In the Mayor’s Department
• Develop short & long term post-pandemic resiliency strategies for Saratoga Springs - it is vital that we put together an after action report to articulate what went well and what needs to be improved as a city so we are as prepared as possible for emergencies.
• We need to continue to invest in smart city initiatives, synergize with emerging tech valley to our south, cultivate workforce development and affordable housing, like the recently completed West Avenue and West Circular developments.
• We must protect our open space and preserve our incredible 'city in the country' which is fundamental to the character of Saratoga Springs, while also continuing to encourage investment and development in the areas of the city that are permissible per the city’s comprehensive plan and completion of the Unified Development Ordinance
• After personally creating over 200 graphics, hundreds of social media posts, press releases, facebook live events, press conferences and community conversations, I can tell you that we must create modern, consistent, centralized and accessible channels of communication to and from City Hall. Residents need and deserve to know what their city is doing and how we can help them.
• We also must work within the existing city charter to identify and reduce inefficiencies in city services & functions
At the City Council table
The City Council with Saratoga County Supervisors Gaston & Veitch, 1-1-20
• I will continue the work I am doing now to ensure every resident has access to timely emergency services through the successful completion of fire station #3 which I am proud to say that despite everything, is currently becoming a reality as we finalize design plans and work towards being shovel ready.
• I will also ALWAYS support the city's essential services, public safety and public works, our unions and especially the fine men and women of the Saratoga Springs Police Department, who are some of the very best in the region, if not the state.
• I will continue to lead by example as I have at the city council table, to create an environment where we can ask questions, without fear of judgement, where we can have disagreements that don’t end in anger or personal attacks, and where ultimately, we remember that at the end of the day, we are all Saratogians.
My commitment to our city is unwavering, and I humbly will be asking for your support and vote to lead this great city through the end of the pandemic and into a new era of prosperity and growth.
Thank you all!
**A note on photos: Why haven't photos been published from this kickoff event?
Robin and her campaign did not want to use people's attendance at this event as publicity for her campaign or as an endorsement of her candidacy. With 4 mayoral candidates in a hyper-local campaign season, we felt this was the most respectful approach while allowing for people from all political parties and walks of life to attend and learn more about Robin's candidacy.
For further information on Robin and any press requests, contact Matthew Taylor: Matthew@robindaltonformayor.com - (518) 323-6559
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