Third-Ward voters in Glens Falls have two good choices as they select their Common Council representative for the next four years.
At first glance, Rachel Murray and Diana Palmer have a lot in common.
Both are young professional women with young families who we found to be well-versed in the challenges facing the city.
Both expressed a great love for the community and what makes it unique — neighborhood schools, safe streets and neighborhoods, and a great place to raise children.
Both cited taxes, rundown properties, infrastructure, high water bills and a need to grow the tax base as important issues that need to be addressed.
But there was one glaring difference between the candidates — experience.
Murray, who grew up in the Third Ward before moving away, has spent the past five years doing turns on the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Planning Board.
“I just love the Planning Board,” she said.
Anyone who has ever been to one of these meetings knows this is where the minutiae of city government is worked out, and disputes settled. Many find the work tedious and boring. That Murray loves the work means she has the temperament to deal with other complicated and less glamorous problems facing the city.
These boards are great preparation for serving on the Common Council.
Murray works in the family business as an insurance adjuster and her work there is also good preparation for the issues the council deals with.
Murray pointed out she regularly goes into people’s homes in stressful situations and has to deliver bad news about what their insurance will and will not cover. She also has previous experience working in social services. Both careers give her valuable insights into issues affecting the citizens.
We also like her back story.
After growing up in Glens Falls, she lived and worked in larger communities around the country — Oregon, Philadelphia, outside Washington, D.C., and the Jersey shore — before finally moving back to Glens Falls in 2010 to raise her children. She said she wanted the same experiences that she had as a child. She has had the opportunity to experience other communities to give her context about life here in Glens Falls.
She said her husband jokes they moved here and got half the house and twice the taxes, but then gushes about her love for the schools, Crandall Park and the library.
“I came back here with a different perspective,” Murray said.
Palmer, who is a therapist in private practice at True North in Glens Falls, was equally effusive about her love for the city, schools and the environment. She moved here from California in 2014.
She also made the case that as a therapist she often specializes in conflict resolution to help people go forward in their lives.
Although she does not have the same type of board experience as her opponent, Palmer has been an officer on the Kensington Road Elementary School PTA and a volunteer for the Open Door Mission and the Red Cross disastermental health team.
She has also showed she is a quick study. When voters asked her about why the water bills were billed the way they were, Palmer contacted the superintendent of the water department to get answers. She says she now understands the issue better and found the city is working on alternative ways to do the billing.
Both showed concern about the rundown properties in the city and favored more aggressive enforcement.
But when it came to where each stood on the potential for police consolidation with Warren County, both hesitated.
Palmer said she is open-minded, but needed to know more.
Murray also said she would be open-minded, but said she would not be afraid to back consolidation if she believed it would be in the best interest of the city.
We believe residents in any of the city’s five wards would feel lucky to have either as a representative on the Common Council.
It is a shame both can’t serve.
But because of her experience, that candidate should be Murray.
And if the voters agree, we hope that city officials reach out to Palmer to find a spot for her on a volunteer board where she can continue to give back to the community. She also has a lot to offer.