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I am announcing my candidacy for Chair of the new Albany County Legislature that will

convene January 1st. This is not a responsibility that I sought, but it has become
abundantly clear that no current candidate shares my conviction to give voters the
opportunity to decide the county legislatures size. It is my top priority to put the
independent blue ribbon Charter Revision Commissions recommendation to downsize
the county legislature on the November 2016 ballot. The resounding defeat of the sham
charter reform proposition this past November could not make the voters will on this
matter any clearer. Let the voters decide the merits or drawbacks of reducing the size of
the county legislature; it is their legislature. Let the voters vote.
At the same time, as also recommended by the Charter Review Commission, the current
legislative redistricting process must be overhauled. We must prepare a truly
independent, non-partisan and inclusive redistricting commission proposition to put
before voters next November. Redistricting is the federally mandated realignment of
legislative district lines following the census every 10 years. It is supposed to make sure
each district has the same population and meets federally supervised tests of fairness.
The county legislature has proven that it just cant redistrict itself fairly. As a
consequence, it has been sued for racial gerrymandering every ten years following the
census for three straight decades. Other forms of blatant political gerrymandering have
occurred as well, and it all must stop. Redistricting must be taken out of the hands of the
legislature.
I offer a clear alternative to the other candidates. They voted against downsizing the
county legislature. They voted to send the sham charter proposition to voters which
continued a politically driven redistricting process. They also supported the failed
proposal to delay the county legislative elections until 2016. And, they supported the
malicious political gerrymander of the southern towns of the county under cover of
settling the latest racial gerrymandering lawsuit.
While I support the reform coalition program and have pledged to advance it, as I said
before, it does not go far enough for me or my constituents because it does not fully
embrace charter reform. The legislatures way of conducting its business on behalf of the
people, who but temporarily give us the privilege to serve and represent them in our
legislative seats, must change.
I stand as a moderate suburban Democrat who has radically pledged to support bipartisanship in the new county legislature. I also pledge to term limit myself to one
two-year term if elected Chair and to work collaboratively with all county-wide elected
officials for the benefit of the countys citizens. The people should ask their legislator to
account for where they stand on these fundamental questions that I am advancing. At the
end of the day, each elected member must ask themselves what they stand for, who they
represent, and what is right.
Charles Dawson
County Legislator, 35th District
Glenmont and Delmar