CORTLAND, N.Y. – Cortland County native and 7th ward resident, Adam Megivern, hopes to represent the 7th ward on the City of Cortland’s Common Council.
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Megivern, who is also executive director of the Cortland Downtown Partnership, is running as a Republican against Democratic incumbent Linda Ferguson in the November 3 election. Kristen Dye, a Cortland County resident, is running as an independent candidate, making it a 3-way race.
We recently sat down with Megivern to ask about his campaign and his overall vision for the city.
1 - In what ways have you been reaching out to voters?
AM: "The most traditional way. I’m going door to door, knocking on every single door. I feel that it’s unfair to ask someone to vote for you if they have never met you, they don’t know you, and they haven’t heard anything through a friend. It’s just unfair to the voter. I think a lot of voters are busy, hardworking people that need you to come to them."
"I drop off my information, my cell phone, my home address, and I encourage anybody to come to my house and give me a call; not just if you have a problem, but if you have an idea. And whether I win the election or not, I’m their neighbor and I want them to have my information and feel comfortable to stop by."
2 - What is your top priority for Common Council?
AM: "I think there’s a lot of things that funnel into the idea of increasing home ownership, but my platform is really based on the idea that we need to make this city safer, and to make it safer we have to start by making it cleaner. If you accomplish those two things, it's really easy to focus on just being a fun community. That’s quality of life, and that’s the recipe to get people to invest in our community by buying homes."
"Right now we have more renters than homeowners in the city and that's a red flag. People are investing, but in rental properties. Although renting is an important part of the cycle towards home ownerships and there’s no problem with that concept, you also don't have enough people planting flowers, maintaining their porch and just doing that upkeep that you see when you own a house."
3 - What makes you qualified for this position?
AM: "I think it's a pretty good blend. I’m well-rounded and I have the formal training with a masters degree in Public Administration. I’ve lived in a couple other communities while attending school, so I am well-rounded in the sense that although I’m a lifelong resident, I’ve seen some other areas.
"As far as practical experience, I’ve been the director of the downtown partnership since 2008, and during that time I’ve had the opportunity to work with the city on numerous activities. Whether it's writing grants or just the people skills, I feel that I’ve done all the things that I’d be asked to do in the role of 7th ward alderman. I feel like I have a good advantage and I’ve established some contacts already. As far as I know, most of my neighbors and I generally just want to make things better."
4 - The city recently applied for state funding to build a flagship hotel downtown. Do you think there is enough demand for a hotel in downtown Cortland?
AM: "Definitely. Not only is there currently enough demand, but we are working to build up more destination visits. This winter, a million dollar marketing campaign will be underway, drawing in visitors from as far as the Philadelphian market. Multiple-day ski stays, where Greek Peak, Toggenburg is a great draw, as people are already coming and we have the great opportunity to get people to stay as it connects them to downtown and the ski area. It opens up the opportunity for people at different price points and interests to choose the city as their destination and their downtown as their place for entertainment."
5 - Would your role as executive director of the Cortland Downtown Partnership present a conflict of interest in your duties as a member of Common Council?
AM: "This question has come up a couple times. I guess there's two ways to answer it. First, there's the legal side: would there actually be a conflict of interest? And that's simple: no, there is no local law, and I have already contacted the state and the state has no interest unless there is a local law."
"As far as the percentage of time that I can allocate to the position because I have a full time job, or the moral implication of, 'would I be able to represent the interests of the seventh ward equally,' or how does the balance work, I think that's where that question becomes a little more interesting, and I think that is a fair question. I’m available 24/7. The information that I have dropped off door to door has my cell phone on there and I do not anticipate that the 7th ward job will be a 9-5 job; it’s a 24/7 job."
"In my role as the director of the Cortland Downtown Partnership, I have the ability to respond to anything that comes up from the 7th ward at any point in the day. Just as I have the ability to respond to anything that happens downtown at any point in the day. There have been several times where I have gotten calls about issues happening downtown at 2 in the morning, and I would expect the same thing to happen with the 7th ward, so it's really just balancing both."
6 - What's your favorite way to spend a weekend in Cortland?
AM: "I like to be outside. That can be in a lot of different ways, whether it is outdoor recreation or actually just sitting outside. Enjoying a meal downtown with the outdoor seating is always great. I like being outside in our natural environment, whether it's urban or rural, and interacting with it. We have a lot of festivals so there’s always an opportunity to be outside and be doing something."
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