JOHNSTOWN - Democratic mayoral candidate Michael Julius on Thursday outlined a three-point plan if he becomes the city's top executive: strengthen the local economy, create quality housing and retrain the local work force.
"Over the next few months, you will hear more about my vision for Johnstown and how we can improve our city, help the people, keep the youth here and bring new families to the cities," Julius said.
Surrounded by Democratic Party well wishers, the 63-year-old retired pharmacist launched his campaign as the city's first declared mayoral candidate at a news conference at the Holiday Inn. The event was conducted by the Fulton County Democratic Committee. Incumbent Republican two-time Mayor Sarah Slingerland announced in March she's not seeking re-election.
Johnstown mayoral candidate Michael Julius, a Democrat, announces his candidacy at the Holiday Inn in Johnstown on Thursday. (The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan)
"We feel he's very qualified with his background in small business," said committee Chairman Ed Jasewicz, introducing the candidate.
Julius, who ran the former Broadalbin Pharmacy for many years, lives at 134 E. Montgomery St. He is a 1967 graduate of Johnstown High School and a 1972 graduate of the Albany College of Pharmacy. Julius is a political newcomer who said he hasn't attended Common Council meetings, but has kept up on city issues by watching council sessions broadcast on local TV.
"I formulated a path to prosperity," Julius said.
He announced a three-point plan, with the first being to try to bring in more high-tech business, such as small "computer feeder" corporations, into the city. But he said he's "not going to abandon Main Street." He also said the city needs quality housing as a way to attract such corporations. Third, Julius said the local work force needs to be retrained and Fulton-Montgomery Community College can be used as a conduit to improve on a "lack of good skill sets" that have emerged in recent recessionary times.
Julius said these "three things tie together" and he hopes to stimulate the economy downtown by working on creating additional parking. He said he also wants to create more downtown events.
"People see me as a person of integrity," said Julius.
He said he can bridge gaps between his party - the minority party in the city - and the Republican Party.
Julius read a prepared statement, which in part said, "I have decided to seek this office not because I have grand political ambitions, but because I have a genuine desire to give back to the community that has given me so much.
"I am concerned about the course of our city," the statement added. "The stagnant economy adversely impacts the families in our community and the future of our city. I believe that I understand the challenges we face moving forward."
Attending the news conference was former Republican Gloversville 1st Ward Supervisor Chris Vose, who said he's known Julius for 25 years.
"He's a man of superior intellect," Vose said of his longtime friend.
Julius said people can join his campaign at firstname.lastname@example.org.