Former councilman running for Gloversville mayor

GLOVERSVILLE-Former Gloversville Councilman-at-Large James Handy, 73, announced on Tuesday he is running for city mayor.

“Speaking with friends and family and other residents of the city, they told me I should get involved to help change the perspective of the city,” Handy said.

Handy, a registered Republican and resident of 23 Alexander St., is the third person to announce plans to run for mayor. He said he plans to run on the Republican and independent lines.

Handy served as the city’s 5th Ward councilman from 2004-05 and as councilman-at-large from 2006-09.

He graduated with an associate degree in electrical technology at Hudson Valley Community College and worked on computer programs for Fulton County, Beech-Nut Foods, IBM and Unisys System.

He also is an active member of the city Lions Club and one of the founders of Railfest with former Mayor Frank LaPorta.

Handy also has supported various community efforts, such as the Fulton County Heart Fund, St. Jude and helped deliver Thanksgiving and Christmas meals through the Church of the Holy Spirit for the last five years.

Handy, a Gloversville resident for 55 years, is currently a member of the city Planning Board. He said being a part of the Planning Board allowed him to be heavily involved with the Walmart Supercenter project.

Among the issues Handy said he would focus on as mayor are blight problems and increasing youth participation in government and the community.

“We have had the blight issue for so long now that it is growing grey hair,” Handy said. “People just don’t care and it is not enforced. We don’t have any industry here and part of it is because of the condition of the city.”

Handy also said he would like to work with the school system to allow kids to be more active in government and in the community with various cleanup projects.

“We can get them to help and gain their respect earlier in their life before they become voters,” Handy said. “It is not a one man job; it is going to take cooperation from everyone to make it happen.”

Handy also said he wants to increase advocacy for the city because it currently doesn’t have a state representative it can consistently go to for help with issues that affect the city.

“We don’t really have any of these people that we can consistently hang our hats on to get something,” Handy said. “I think we are going to have to look elsewhere, like maybe the governor.”

The incumbent, Dayton King, previously said he is running for re-election in November. Gloversville 5th Ward Supervisor Michael Ponticello last month said he is running for the post.

Ponticello was endorsed by the city Republican Committee in March.

“I have no use for that Republican Committee, especially in the city,” Handy said. “They need to be overhauled. They endorse a candidate with only two people coming forward, excuse me, but there is something wrong with that. It’s like instead of disenfranchising voters, they are disenfranchising candidates. You limit the pool and that’s not good because you don’t give the people a fair choice.”

Handy said he has no DWI arrest – or any arrest, for that matter – on his record.

“I can’t even drink,” Handy said. “I have no arrest on my record.”

Ponticello made headlines in October when he was charged with driving while intoxicated after crashing his vehicle into a utility pole in Johnstown. After his arrest, Ponticello issued a public apology.

In August 2001, Dayton King was arrested by Fulton County sheriff’s deputies for a DWI after a one-car accident on Olaf Johnson Road that injured three people, including himself and two passengers.

Handy said he plans to make a formal announcement that he is running for mayor at the Trail Station Park on Saturday at 10 a.m.