Two years later, the Common Council minority leader used the park as a backdrop as she announced her intention last Friday, March 25 to seek higher office.
“This was always a favorite place of mine as a child, now it is suffering neglect,” said Turco-Levin in an emotional speech announcing her candidacy for mayor to a crowd of about 40 supporters. “It is also tangible proof of what happens when I set a goal to improve something. I see results from my efforts.”
Speaking of her efforts to organize park cleanups and volunteer committee to help improve Forsyth Park, Turco-Levin promised to give the city the same kind of attention from the mayor’s office.
A Kingston native, Turco-Levin left the city in 1980 to pursue a career as a radio DJ and music industry executive and returned in 2001 to work as a realtor. In her speech, she said that she was distressed by the state of her hometown when she returned and even more dismayed by the lack of meaningful change since then.
“I was saddened to see the decline of Kingston, but felt optimistic about its potential,” said Turco-Levin. “But after 10 years of watching nothing happen besides slipping further into decline and showing a lack of vision for our future, I decided to get involved.”
Turco-Levin cited rising taxes and diminishing services, quality of life issues and the erosion of public trust in city government as major problems in Kingston and promised to lay out her plans for reversing the trend over the course of the campaign. She also touted her experience as a realtor which, she said, had given her insight into the root causes of Kingston’s woes. The freshman councilmember added that her relative lack of political experience was an asset in a city where politics often gets in the way of “true progress.”
“I will get the job done and this time, being a political newcomer is a very good thing.”
Turco-Levin enters a race for the Republican nomination which includes fellow council member Ron Polacco (R-Ward 6), 2007 mayoral candidate Richard Cahill Jr. and former school board president Jean Jacobs. Alderman Hayes Clement (D-Ward 9) and Assistant Corporation Counsel Shayne Gallo have announced campaigns for the Democratic nomination.
Cahill’s candidacy got a boost last week when a special committee of Kingston Republicans recommended chose him as the preferred candidate. The five-member candidate selection committee voted 3-2 in a non-binding ballot to give Cahill the recommendation. The party will not officially nominate a candidate until June, when the whole 37-member Kingston Republican Committee will choose a nominee.
“It’s not binding by any means, but it is a momentum-building thing,” said Cahill of the selection. “These were veteran committee members, some of the real cream of the crop.”