NYLCVEF Hosts Troy Mayoral Environmental Candidate Forum

| September 17, 2023

On September 14, the New York League of Conservation Voters hosted an environmental candidate forum in Troy, NY, featuring Mayoral candidates Nina Nichols (D) and Carmella Mantello (R). Spectrum News reporter Kate Lisa moderated the program, which was held at the Arts Center of the Capital Region and co-sponsored by Clean + Healthy New York and the Sierra Club’s Atlantic Chapter.

[Watch the full Troy Mayoral Candidate Forum here.]

Troy, like many communities, faces a myriad of environmental challenges, from lead pipe replacement to improving sustainability and accessibility. Both mayoral candidates took the opportunity to address these issues and outline their visions for a greener and more environmentally responsible Troy.

In her opening remarks, NYLCVEF President Julie Tighe placed the discussion firmly in the context of the climate crisis. 

“After this summer, I think it’s fair to say that the environment isn’t just top of mind for voters–it’s permeating into their daily existence,” said Tighe. “We’ve seen apocalyptic hazy orange skies, the hottest temperatures the earth has ever seen, and multiple torrential rain storms which have caused flash flooding in Troy, delaying work on city infrastructure projects and wreaking havoc on travel.” 

One of the critical issues discussed during the debate was the replacement of lead pipes in Troy. As a major health concern, both candidates acknowledged the urgency of addressing this problem. Mantello emphasized her commitment to securing federal and state funding to continue the lead pipe replacement program. She also stressed the importance of collaboration with schools, colleges, universities, and landlords to raise awareness about the issue.

Nichols proposed a community-oriented approach, emphasizing the need for direct outreach efforts and suggested working closely with educational institutions and local partners to spread awareness about lead pipe replacement and ensure that all residents are well-informed.

The candidates also discussed the expansion of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, with Nichols intending to work closely with Troy’s sustainability task force to develop a comprehensive strategy for increasing the availability of electric vehicle charging stations. Mantello’s plan involves seeking public input and collaborating with developers to install more charging stations throughout the city. 

Both candidates expressed support for the city’s composting program. Nichols proposed creating additional drop-off sites and expanding the program’s accessibility to encourage more residents to participate. Mantello highlighted the importance of leveraging small dollars into larger investments to further develop the program. 

When asked about their top priorities for utilizing federal and state funds, Mantello emphasized the vast potential of Troy’s eight-mile waterfront stretch. She intends to make it a focal point for economic development and environmental protection by creating connecting trails and promoting its accessibility.

Nichols highlighted her interest in conducting an energy audit for the city. This audit would provide valuable recommendations to improve energy efficiency and sustainability, aligning with Troy’s commitment to becoming a “Climate Smart Community,” Nichols said. 

WABC, the local NPR affiliate, and CBS 6 NY were on hand to cover the forum. The full program is available to watch here

Each year, NYLCVEF works with local partners to hold nonpartisan candidate forums throughout the state. These forums connect voters to candidates for office in federal, state, and local races and they give voters the chance to hear directly from candidates about their positions on environmental issues. These forums not only educate voters but they also motivate candidates to add environmental protection to their platforms, promises which we hold them accountable to once elected.

Early voting begins on October 28 and runs through November 5, and Election Day is on Tuesday, November 7.

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