Niskayuna supervisor, town board candidates lay out their top concerns – The Daily Gazette

Top: Faizy, Puccioni; Bottom: DellaRatta, McGraw, Moskowitz, Walker, Brennan, Freiden
Both incumbent and new candidates are looking to fill three of four seats on the Niskayuna Town Board along with the town supervisor’s position this election cycle. There is also a special race to fill Rosemarie Perez Jaquith’s former seat after she resigned on July 1.
The outcome of the election could turn over control of the town, which has a 4-1 Democratic hold with Supervisor Yasmine Syed serving as the lone Republican, over to the GOP.
Syed announced March 31 that she would not be seeking re-election. Instead, she will be moving to Syracuse where her husband is currently stationed.
Town Supervisor’s Race
Republican and Conservative candidate Hamayun “Joey” Faizy is facing Democrat and Working Families candidate Jaime Lynn Puccioni for the supervisor’s position. 
Faizy, a U.S. Army veteran, grew up in Schenectady after his family immigrated to the U.S. from Afghanistan as refugees, he said. The father of four children, he has coached both little league t-ball and soccer teams in town. He is a realtor for Berkshire Hathway, along with owning and managing various properties and other investments. If elected, he said he plans to step away from his job and work full-time as the town’s supervisor.
Puccioni, an associate professor of literacy teaching and learning at the University at Albany’s School of Education, serves as vice chairwoman of Niskayuna’s Racial Equity Task Force. She’s lived in the town since 2013. 
Both candidates’ campaigns focus on improving the parks and public safety in town. 
Faizy, under his “Better Build Niskayuna” plan, wants to create a committee with volunteer sport league officials who will act as liaisons with the town board on issues regarding the parks and sports fields. He would address issues such as the puddling of water on sports fields, upgrading the box at Blatnick Park that is used for box lacrosse and making sure the soccer and football fields have proper landscaping. 
Puccioni said she wants to preserve green spaces at the town parks. Other initiatives include stocking the Blatnick Park pond with fish and holding a yearly fishing derby, making improvements to the Lock 7 park and boat launch, creating a space for smaller dogs at the dog park and building more multi-use paths for walking and biking, she said. 
Both candidates want to address speeding in town as well, which has been an issue residents have continued to bring up over the course of the year. 
“I will prioritize working with Schenectady County and New York State to reduce speed limits and invest in speed bumps and other speed-reducing infrastructure to make our streets safer,” Faizy said, noting he’s seen speeding in his own neighborhood. 
Puccioni said she will work with the police to determine the neighborhoods with speeding problems and how best to address them.
This plan should include a traffic study and electronic speed signs that simultaneously collect data for analysis and subsequent decision-making,” she said.
Faizy and Puccioni will also look to work with the police department in other ways. Faizy said he will get staffing levels back up and ensure officers receive the necessary training. Puccioni said she wants to work with the department to implement police reform recommendations and adopt strategies to boost morale.
Faizy also said he would not look at the supervisor’s role as a part-time job and would make town government transparent.
“I will work to eliminate wasteful spending and fight for our fair share of sales tax revenue so that I can Better Build Niskayuna,” he said. 
Puccioni also wants to make some economic impacts by finding ways to grow the values of homes, stabilize property taxes, bring in more businesses by working with Metroplex and create a budget that limits the use of the fund balance. She also wants to work on the 10-year revision of the town’s master plan. 
Town Board Races
Democrat town board members John Della Ratta and Denise Murphy McGraw are both seeking reelection to the board. McGraw is also running on the Working Families Party line while Della Ratta is also running on the Conservative Party line. 

Della Ratta is an attorney and works part-time for the Schenectady County Public Defender’s office. He’s seeking his third term on the board. McGraw, who is a partner at the lobbying firm Hill, Godseck & McGraw, is seeking her fourth term. 
Della Ratta said he wants to continue seeking new development in town while maintaining its character. If re-elected, he said he wants to review more vendor contracts to ensure the town is conducting business efficiently, address traffic issues and invest in the parks and other town facilities. 
McGraw, if re-elected, wants secure grant funding for a new town recreation and senior center, employ someone to deal with human resource issues rather than hiring a consultant, ease traffic issues in town and resolve drainage issues at Blatnick Park and the town’s baseball fields. 
Della Ratta and McGraw are facing Jason Moskowitz and Susan Walker, who will appear on the Republican party line. Walker is also running on the Conservative Party line, while Moskowitz is also running on the Community Leader ticket. 
Moskowitz, a 13-year volunteer firefighter with Niskayuna Fire District No. 1, is seeking his first term on the board. He is currently serving his fifth term as the fire company’s president. He has also been a Schenectady County Public Safety 911 dispatcher for nine years.
Walker is also seeking her first term on the board. She is a home health occupational therapist who moved to Niskayuna eight years ago.
Moskowitz is running to bring fairness and transparency back to town, he said. He said he wants to also address speed and traffic problems, make sure there is adequate funding for town departments, implement policies for growing the community while maintaining its character and ensuring the town preserves the environment.
Walker said that she wants to work with other board members to create a fiscally-sound budget that doesn’t create high taxes for residents or businesses. She said she also wants to improve the park infrastructure, address traffic concerns and ensure the police department and other town employees are supported in their jobs. 
Running to fill Jaquith’s unexpired term are Democrat and Working Families party candidate Jessica Brennan and Republican and Conservative party candidate Dave Feiden. 
Brennan is running for her first term. She is the founder of Nisky NOW (Nutrition on Weekends), which feeds 80 food-insecure families each week. She is also the founder of Nisky Attic, a virtual space where community members can help meet the clothing needs of students and families. 
Feiden is also seeking his first term for town board. He ran for the 110th Assembly seat last year, after spending 15 years working in the state Assembly.
Brennan will look to address issues in town surrounding mental health needs, supporting emergency responders with training on de-escalation and behavioral health, facility maintenance, traffic problems and accessibility and safety for seniors. 
Dave Feiden plans to support the police department in providing safety to town residents, keeping taxes under the tax cap and preserving access to both the waterfront and Erie Canal.
Categories: News, Schenectady County, Your Niskayuna
Speeding in Niskayuna??? The street I live on starts at Union street and ends at Lexington Parkway. Countless times I’ve seen cars flying down the street after turning off upper Union only to slow down after crossing Grand Blvd and turn into a driveway. How about drivers in Niskayuna practice what they preach on all those slow down signs when they aren’t on the block they live on.
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