GLENS FALLS -- James Clark, a Glens Falls school board member, announced his candidacy Tuesday for the 5th Ward seat on the Glens Falls Common Council.
“I love Glens Falls, and the timing was right,” he said in an interview after issuing a press release.
Clark, a Republican, said his platform will include consolidating the Glens Falls and Queensbury recreation departments and establishing an incentive program to encourage converting older homes that have been subdivided into two apartments back into single-family residences.
Clark said he is preparing a plan, to be presented later in the campaign, to increase use of parks, playgrounds and recreation trails in the 5th Ward.
“I think we could utilize them more,” he said.
Current 5th Ward Councilman Bennet Driscoll, a Democrat, has reached his term limit and cannot run for re-election in November.
Clark, a former mayor’s assistant, is the first candidate to announce in the race.
On the Democratic side, Lee Braggs, vice president of the Glens Falls NAACP branch, has said he is considering the race and will make a decision after he retires Feb. 20 from his job as a wastewater treatment plant operator for the state.
Clark begins his campaign with endorsements from former Republican mayors Vince DeSantis and Robert Regan, who are serving as co-chairmen of his campaign committee.
Clark, who was an assistant to both mayors, said his knowledge of city government and departments is an asset.
As the mayor’s assistant, Clark was city budget and insurance coordinator and served as temporary executive director of the Glens Falls Civic Center and as interim recreation superintendent.
Clark said, if elected, he would follow up on a suggestion he offered as mayor’s assistant that the city and Queensbury explore consolidating recreation departments and programs. City residents use many of the town parks, and town residents use many of the city parks, he said.
“It’s not a huge stretch to do something like that,” he said.
Clark said he would like to work with the city Community/Economic Development Office to develop the incentive program for converting older, subdivided homes back into single-family residences.
“We need to start creating neighborhoods again,” he said.
Perhaps the incentive could dovetail with the city’s first-time homebuyer program, he said.
Clark, 43, works as an analyst with the state Unified Court System.
He previously was an aide to state Sen. Thomas Libous, R-Binghamton, and former U.S. Rep. John Sweeney, R-Clifton Park.
He was Glens Falls Republican chairman from 2003- 2006 and was appointed to the school board in 2007. He was then elected in 2008 to a five-year term which ends in June.
He is not seeking re-election to the school board this year.