HUDSON — Sole mayoral candidate Rick Rector kicked off a series of informal get-to-know-you meetings in the 1st Ward on Thursday.
The meeting was held at the Hudson Lodge on Union Street and was an opportunity for Rector to meet residents and address their questions and concerns.
Rector, a 10-year Hudson resident, has received endorsements from the Democratic, Republican and Conservative parties. He is campaigning with the slogan “One Hudson” to acknowledge the Fair and Equal initiative, which created five wards of equal population last year.
Rector serves as a 1st Ward alderman and sits on several committees such as Arts, Entertainment and Tourism, Economic Development, Finance and Historic Preservation.
“The Historic Preservation Committee was a vehicle for me to get to know residents, newcomers and those in the business community,” he told the audience.
If elected, Rector said he will prioritize youth and riverfront development in Hudson.
“I want to work with residents, the Common Council and other elected officials so we’re all on the same page,” he said. “I want to learn from you.”
Audience members asked questions about issues such as affordable housing.
Rebecca Wolff from the citizen action group Affordable Housing Hudson, said she was disappointed Rector didn’t mention affordable housing as one of his top priorities.
“His response to affordable housing was a little defensive and shifted to, ‘There’s so much good stuff to talk about, so let’s talk about that,’” she said. “If the needs of people at the lowest income level aren’t being addressed, you can have as much tourism and prosperity as you want, but it’ll still be on top of an unhealthy city.”
Wolff added she’s taking Rector at his word.
“He said he’s looking forward to having those conversations, so I hope he will look for solutions and be open to those who have something to say,” Wolff said. “There are things that need to be addressed including affordable housing, which has been talked about for years, and they need to be solved, not just talked about.”
Wolff hopes Rector decides how to balance business interests and community interests.
“There’s an argument that business interests are community interests, but there are a lot of community concerns about housing and the changing faces of Hudson,” she said. “He’ll have to think about how he wants to address those concerns.”
Kaya Weidman, executive director of Hudson-based Kite’s Nest, a nonprofit that provides a center for liberal education on South Front Street, attended the meeting and appreciated the opportunity to have an open conversation.
“Any opportunity to have a conversation with people who will or do hold a public office is important,” she said. “The more the dialogue, the better.”
Weidman added, “I’m looking forward to seeing Rick’s plans for what he’ll do in office and it’s a good place to start with these kinds of conversations.”
Rector’s next community meetings will be held in the 3rd Ward on Oct. 10 at 6 p.m. at House Rules Cafe, 757 Columbia St., the 4th Ward on Oct. 11 at 6 p.m. at the Hudson Area Library, 51 N. 5th St., the 5th Ward on Oct. 24 at 6 p.m. at Crosswinds at Hudson, 15 Rogers Lane, and the 2nd Ward on Oct. 30 at the Chamber of Commerce at 1 N. Front St.
To reach reporter Ann Friedman, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2499 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.