Councilwoman Barbara Smith won’t seek re-election
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Published on 4/7/2013 by the Times Union written by JORDAN CARLEO-EVANGELIST, Staff writer
Here’s a preview of Monday’s Inside Politics column:
The Albany Common Council will lose another steady voice of resistance next year.
Councilwoman Barbara Smith will announce Tuesday that she is not seeking re-election to a third term in the city’s 4th Ward representing North Albany, Arbor Hill and part of the South End.
Throughout her tenure, Smith, 66, a Democrat elected in 2005, has been closely allied with 1st Ward Councilman Dominick Calsolaro, who announced two weeks ago that he also won’t seek another term.
Both hail from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and have often voted together on some of the most controversial issues before the council, which has grown bolder in its challenges to Mayor Jerry Jennings in recent years. But the two are also a study polar opposite political personalities.
Unlike Calsolaro, who is prone to animated speeches on the council floor, Smith has more often than not favored a lower-key approach, speaking on the floor much less frequently and in a low and even voice — community dialogue, not public confrontation, her preferred lever.
A Cleveland native, feminist writer and board member for New Yorkers for Alternatives the Death Penalty, Smith spent much of her time on the council focusing on improving urban education through initiatives like Albany Promise and combating street violence, including chairing the Public Safety Committee and helping found the community-based SNUG anti-violence program.
She was recently featured in PBS documentary “Makers: Women who Make America” and is a public service professor at the University at Albany’s School of Social Welfare.
“I’m just so happy that I had the opportunity to serve people in my community and the 4th Ward and do as much as I possibly could to make our city as great as it can be,” Smith told Insider. “To me, eight years seemed to be a good time span. And I think it is great to have new people come in and bring their skills and their commitment to this work.”