Cham­ber­lain run­ning for mayor

The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY) - - Front Page - By Charles Pritchard [email protected]­dadis­

ONEIDA, N.Y. >> While he’s not run­ning for coun­cil come No­vem­ber, Ward 5 Coun­cilor Jim Cham­ber­lain has an­nounced his bid for mayor.

Hav­ing spent 63 years liv­ing in Oneida, Cham­ber­lain wanted to give back to the com­mu­nity and feels he’s got a lot ac­com­plished in his 35 1/2 years work­ing for the city. Cham­ber­lain started work­ing for the city of Oneida in the Water De­part­ment in 1975 and re­tired as the su­per­vi­sor in 2010 be­fore run­ning for coun­cil in 2011.

“I’ve been a coun­cilor for four con­sec­u­tive terms. Eight years,” Cham­ber­lain said. “And I think I’ve done just about every­thing I think I can as one per­son on the coun­cil. What re­ally pushed me to run was when I stepped in as act­ing mayor for three months.”

In 2016 and 2018, Cham­ber­lain was voted in as deputy mayor, and while he doesn’t like to see Mayor Leo Matzke “un­able to serve due to un­fore­seen health is­sues,” he en­joys the chance to work as deputy mayor. Every­day, Cham­ber­lain said, he goes in and learns a lit­tle more.

“I went back to coun­cil af­ter those three months as act­ing mayor and you see what you can do, the changes you can­make and the good you can do,” Cham­ber­lain said. “It’s an eye opener.”

Cham­ber­lain said he and Matzke, both Democrats, work well to­gether and un­der­stand each other, even if they don’t al­ways see eye to eye.

Cham­ber­lain said he didn’t know if Matzke was go­ing to run again for mayor and didn’t want to speak on his be­half. But Cham­ber­lain is ready to hit the ground run­ning and said he al­ready has an agenda writ­ten up with 10 things he’d like to ac­com­plish in the first 60 days.

“I’ll be re­leas­ing it later on in the year,” Cham­ber­lain said. “There are sev­eral af­ter that, but

they’re good changes or things we’re go­ing to bring back.”

Cham­ber­lain has al­ready promised that his cam­paign wouldn’t have any mud­sling­ing and in­stead fo­cus on is­sues.

“I’m not go­ing to be a part of that,” Cham­ber­lain said. “I think Leo is a won­der­ful per­son who has done a lot for the city of Oneida. I just feel I can step in and take over his ideas, while bring­ing some new ones in.”

One of the most ex­cit­ing things, Cham­ber­lain said, is friends, rel­a­tives and even com­plete strangers who have of­fered help and sup­port for his cam­paign.

“That makes you feel good,” Cham­ber­lain said.

Cham­ber­lain said one of the key things about him run­ning for mayor op­posed to other can­di­dates is his record — with 35 and 63 years work­ing and liv­ing in the city re­spec­tively, Cham­ber­lain said he has got­ten to knowwell the de­part­ments and peo­ple liv­ing here.

“I’m ready to hit the ground run­ning, I’ve got my pri­or­i­ties straight and I’ve got a lot of peo­ple be­hind me,” Cham­ber­lain said. “Oneida will never be like it was in the ‘60s and ‘70s, as I re­mem­ber it. Es­pe­cially down­town. But I think we can make Oneida cleaner, safer and some­thing to brag about. If you can ac­tu­ally brag in a store that you live in Oneida and feel good about it, then that’s what we want to shoot for.”

While that won’t hap­pen overnight, Cham­ber­lain said, it’s a chal­lenge he’s ready to take on.

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