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Mayoral candidates set to debate Thursday

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    Mayor Rick Rector and 1st Ward Alderman Kamal Johnson.
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    First Ward Alderman Kamal Johnson
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    Mayor Rick Rector
May 14, 2019 06:30 pm

HUDSON — Tickets are going fast for the debate between incumbent Mayor Rick Rector and challenger 1st Ward Alderman Kamal Johnson.

Rector and Johnson will square off 6 p.m. Thursday at Montgomery C. Smith Elementary School, 102 Harry Howard Ave. Both candidates are running in the Democratic Party primary June 25.

Admission to the event is free but organizers are asking attendees to register in advance because seating is limited. Tickets can be obtained by visiting and clicking on the links “Free Tickets” at the website on Indivisible CD 19’s website: The debate will be video-recorded.

The debate is hosted by Indivisible CD19 NY and made possible by the support of The Register Star, The Columbia Paper, WGXC and production services by Martin Audio Video Services.

“I am looking forward to the debate as there are many issues we are facing as a community,” Rector said Tuesday. “It is both my hope and aspiration to let the voters know more about me and my positions in addition to getting to know my opponent’s. A healthy and honest discussion regarding the past, present and future is beneficial to all and I am hoping to learn as well.”

Johnson wants to take the opportunity to address some of the larger topics facing the city: assessments, a lack of housing and helping the city’s youth.

“This is an opportunity to hear both of us speak and to be able to make a strong decision on June 25,” Johnson said. I think they [attendees] should come to the debate and listen for who has a vision and who is ready to lead. I know there are some people that don’t know about my experience in the community and politics and organizing and I am just hoping to dispel a rumor I’m the less experienced candidate.”

Each candidate will get a two-minute opening statement and a five-minute closing statement. Questions posed by the audience will be selected by the moderators.

Moderators are Columbia-Greene Media Executive Editor Mary Dempsey and Columbia Paper Editor and Publisher Parry Teasdale. The moderators will each ask two questions before posing questions submitted by the public. Moderators will be able to ask follow-up questions. The candidates will not know the questions ahead of time.

Questions can be submitted online by visiting: or they can be submitted in person by visiting The Register-Star, One Hudson City Centre, Suite 202, Hudson. The deadline to submit questions is 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Rector is serving his first term as mayor. Johnson is serving his first two-year term as alderman.

Johnson has the endorsement of the Working Families Party. Rector has endorsements from the Democratic and Republican parties.

Johnson did not announce his candidacy until after the Hudson Democratic Committee endorsed Rector. The committee made its endorsements March 5, backing all unopposed Democratic candidates before Johnson announced his candidacy March 13.

To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.