Vision2Action is an organization working to improve the greater Plattsburgh region by focusing on four priorities: arts, recreation, transportation and education. The group sponsored a mayoral forum Tuesday evening on the SUNY Plattsburgh campus. North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley was one of three reporters on the panel.
The 90-minute forum included questions from the panel followed by questions from the audience vetted by moderators. Candidates had three minutes each to respond, but because it was not a formal debate, there were no rebuttals nor follow-ups. Vision2Action intended the focus to be on its four priority issues of the arts, recreation, transportation and education, but many questions targeted the economic drivers for the community. Independent and Republican-endorsed Jim Calnon is current councilor from Ward 4 and has been mayor pro tem for six years.
Independent Chris Rosenquest, a native of the city, returned to Plattsburgh to run for mayor from Washington state.
Democrat Mark Tiffer is the current Ward 2 city councilor.
The idea of enhancing the community development office and hiring a director has been an issue during the campaign and was a recurring theme throughout the forum. Independent-Republican Calnon was adamant that a director is not needed, but his opponents, including Democrat Tiffer, say the city would benefit.
A years-long project to renovate the historic Strand Theater is reaching completion, and events are beginning to be held in the historic structure. It is the focal point of an envisioned cultural corridor downtown. The normally fiscally minded and pragmatic Calnon was at his most animated when asked about the importance of the Strand for the future of the city.
Independent Rosenquest calls the theater a beacon for downtown art and culture development.
The League of Women Voters helped Vision2Action coordinate the forum. Voter Service Chair
Betty Anne King was pleased that the hall was filled with voters.
Vision2Action’s Devi Momot says the attendance and forum topics more than met their expectations.
A forum with 13 of the 14 candidates for Plattsburgh city council will be held tonight at city hall.