HUDSON — First Ward Alderman Kamal Johnson is throwing his hat into the mayor’s race.
Johnson, a Democrat, is in the second year of his first term as 1st Ward alderman on the Hudson Common Council.
At this point in the November race, incumbent Mayor Rick Rector, also a Democrat, is Johnson’s sole challenger. Rector served as 1st Ward alderman for one term and ran unopposed in 2017 for his first term as mayor.
“We’ll be going to primary,” Johnson said. “I am just excited to run a clean a race. Mayor Rector is definitely a worthy opponent.”
Johnson, 34, is a co-host of WGXC 90.7’s Drivetime Radio Show and served as a volunteer basketball coach with the Hudson Youth Department for several years.
A Hudson High School graduate, Johnson has lived in Hudson since he was in third grade. He is the father of a 10-year-old daughter.
Johnson graduated from Columbia-Greene Community College in 2005 and SUNY New Paltz in 2007 with degrees in early childhood education and history.
Johnson is co-director of Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood and is the coordinator of the POPs fatherhood initiative — a group that helps fathers connect to their families. He also serves as chairman of the Youth and Police committees of the Hudson Common Council.
“I think this was one of the hardest choices I have ever had to make,” Johnson said. “I wanted to be the mayor since I was 16 years old. It’s something that I have always dreamed about.”
Growing up, Johnson earned the unofficial nickname of “mayor” from people in the community who saw him get involved and volunteer, he said.
His campaign will focus on bringing people together toward a forward-thinking and inclusive future, according to statement Wednesday from Johnson announcing his candidacy.
If elected, Johnson said he will focus on helping the working class thrive and bridging the city’s socioeconomic gaps. Hudson is undergoing a big transition, he said, adding he does not want to see working people driven out of the city.
Johnson also plans to emphasize the need for housing — especially for the city’s homeless youth. The Hudson City School District has many homeless students, he said, with many living out of hotel rooms.
“These families need homes,” Johnson said. “It’s a huge trauma for a family not to have stability.