SARANAC LAKE - Clyde Rabideau is 13 years removed from his tenure as mayor of Plattsburgh, but that doesn't mean he's stopped paying attention to that city's politics.
Rabideau, a Democrat who was Plattsburgh's mayor from 1989 through 1999 and has been Saranac Lake's mayor since 2010, has been helping independent candidate Chris Rosenquest in his bid to become Plattsburgh's next mayor. Rosenquest, an independent, is running against a pair of city council members for the seat: Republican James Calnon and Democrat Mark Tiffer. Current Mayor Donald Kasprzak has opted not to seek another term but is reportedly backing Calnon as his replacement. The election is Tuesday.
Asked about the race Monday, Rabideau said he hasn't endorsed a candidate, but he later admitted that he's been helping Rosenquest with his campaign.
Clyde Rabideau, mayor, village of Saranac Lake
(Enterprise file photo)
"I did give him some advice on how to write news releases, basic news release 101, and just general advice about how to go door to door," Rabideau said. "Just basic stuff, as a friend."
Rabideau was also pictured in a campaign advertisement for Rosenquest that ran in Sunday's Plattsburgh Press-Republican. The photo shows him walking down a city sidewalk with Rosenquest and his wife. Its caption says the three are "building partnerships and listening to voters."
"I like him a lot," Rabideau said. "He has a certain amount of charisma, which successful politicians do have. I find him very genuine, and he's got a more worldly view of local politics that I find very refreshing."
Rabideau said Rosenquest, 38, also told him that when he was living in Plattsburgh, "I was his mayor, which makes me feel really old." A Clinton Community College and SUNY Plattsburgh graduate, Rosenquest left the area and lived for 14 years in the Midwest and Seattle, where he started a pair of businesses, before returning to Plattsburgh earlier this year.
Rabideau said Rosenquest met recently with him and Saranac Lake Community Development Director Jeremy Evans to learn more about the village's grant writing and grant administration efforts. One of Rosenquest's campaign platforms has been to rebuild and fully staff the city's Community and Economic Development Office.
In a press release last month, Rosenquest noted that the office had a staff of four during Rabideau's tenure and into the early 2000s, and brought-in "millions of dollars in state and federal grants for economic development, downtown revitalization, and affordable housing." Now it has one part-time employee and hasn't won any grants in recent years, he said.
Rosenquest noted that Saranac Lake, which has two full-time Community Development workers, has secured several million dollars' worth of grants and no-interest loans over the last few years.
"They've got a lot going on there," Rosenquest wrote in the release. "It's obvious Plattsburgh has everything we need to be successful here, but we're missing the bigger picture by not fully-staffing a Community Development Office and applying for all the grants available. I will change that once sworn into the mayor's office."
Although Saranac Lake is his home now, Rabideau said he still cares about Plattsburgh.
"It's where my kids live and one of my grandchildren right now, and I hope it does well," he said. "All three candidates are great guys, and I'm sure Plattsburgh's going to make the right choice."
Contact Chris Knight at 891-2600 ext. 24 or firstname.lastname@example.org.