ALBANY, N.Y. - On Tuesday night, Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings announced that he would not seek re-election after nearly 20 years as mayor, on Wednesday saying he hopes to spend more time with his family.
Jennings walked into a conference room of applause Wednesday morning; emotion raw on his face as he thanked his staff and the people of Albany for supporting him. Jennings, 64-years-old, has been mayor of the capital city since 1993.
He said his decision not to run has been a long time coming, and that he hopes to spend more time with his family, specifically his grandchildren, and will remain in Albany. He says he doesn't plan to immediately take on any other job - his focus remains on finishing out his fifth term. He was quick to remind the crowd he still has seven months left in office.
"The time has come. I made a decision, I weighed everything very carefully," Jennings said. "I spent twenty-something great years with the school district, another 20 in this great job and I have a lot of work to do over these next seven months, so don't think we're slowing down."
Jennings said he was proud of the work he's done and that the city is on better financial footing. He said he's personally lobbied for the city at the Capitol to get more state aid.
He didn't leave the press conference Wednesday without poking some fun at himself, saying that his "glow" is because of high blood pressure.
He also made it clear he is still supportive of a large convention center in Albany.
"Jerry Jennings has been a tremendous public servant and friend for over 20 years," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement Wednesday. "When you think of Albany, the first thing you think of is Jerry. No one has cared more deeply for the city of Albany or worked harder for the people here then Jerry. I want to thank Jerry for his decades of service and wish him well."
Here is the letter Jennings released Tuesday night:
Dear City of Albany Residents:
I have had both the honor and privilege of serving as Mayor of the greatest Capital City in the United States for nearly twenty years. Having been born and raised in this community has only served to bolster my commitment to and passion for the people who make this City so special.
While it certainly would be easy for me to list the myriad accomplishments over my tenure as your Mayor, from economic development initiatives in every corner of our City; to innovative and engaging programs for our youth; to implementing community policing and neighborhood revitalization; to enhancing our City's quality of life; to securing millions of dollars in State and Federal funding ensuring the fiscal stability of our City and lessening the burden on our taxpayers, none is more meaningful to me than the belief in our people.
My love for this City and my commitment to our children, our neighborhoods and the people who reside in them is boundless. Given this, the decision of whether to seek another term as your mayor has been one of the difficult evaluations I have ever faced. My family has been supportive; my trusted friends valued.
After countless hours of deliberations and evaluation, I have decided not to seek re-election as your Mayor. Although every day I still find joy in the work I do and in the people I serve, the time has come for a new chapter to be written.
Albany's future is bright, and, from the bottom of my heart I want to thank each of you for the trust you have placed in me. Collectively, we have done great things, and I have every reason to believe that we are well poised for continued growth and prosperity. Thank you for your understanding and years of support.
I will always be your friend and the biggest supporter of our "All America City."
Gerald D. Jennings
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