Miller ends campaign for county legislature 

Paul Miller

GUILDERLAND — Incumbent Paul Miller is ending his campaign for District 32 of the Albany County Legislature, two months after losing by two votes to Mickey Cleary in the Democratic primary. 

The results of the June primary between Miller were so close that absentee ballots were counted on July 2. Cleary started out 22 votes ahead and, when the 40 absentee ballots were counted, ended up winning the Democratic line with 301 votes to Miller’s 299. 

Miller still has the Working Families Party line, but told The Enterprise he had looked at the numbers and decided they did not favor him, and also said that, as someone who has been very active in the Democratic Party for over 30 years, “It wouldn’t be right to run against the Democratic line.” 

Miller announced his decision this week in a letter to the Enterprise editor. His name will still appear on the ballot since it’s past the deadline to remove it. Cleary will face no challengers.

Told by The Enterprise of Miller’s decision, Cleary said, “If he’s suspending his campaign, I’m happy with that … We had great elections, everything was cordial, no backstabbing or anything. We walked the streets and would run into each other and say, ‘You go that way, and I’ll go this way.’ We had a friendly primary, and nothing was nasty.” 

Cleary launched his campaign after Miller had told Guilderland’s Democratic chairman, Jacob Crawford, that he wouldn’t run because his stepson was very ill. Soon afterward, when his stepson’s health had improved, Miller decided he wanted to run after all, but by that point Cleary didn’t want to back down. 

District 32 covers McKownville and stretches to the area around Dr. Shaw Road. 


Miller’s accomplishments 

A retiree from the state’s Department of Labor, Miller has been a volunteer with the North Bethlehem Fire Department for 50 years. He leads a Boy Scout troop, and is a member of the Albany County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Board. 

He grew up in Guilderland and attended Guilderland High School. Miller stressed his deep roots in Guilderland because he felt he was hurt by a letter to the Enterprise editor that ran just before the primary, stating Miller was more involved with the Albany County Democrats while Cleary was more involved with the Guilderland Democrats.

Miller pointed out this week that he is a life member of the Guilderland Fire Chiefs Association and the current president of the Guilderland Firefighters’ Scholarship Fund and had been scoutmaster of Troop 24 of Guilderland for six years and  earned his Eagle Scout award at Troop 82 in McKownville.

During his four years in office, Miller was lead sponsor of three anti-tobacco bills that were passed and enacted into law. The bills raised to 21 the age to purchase tobacco in the county, banned smoking in county parks and on the rail trail, and banned the sale of tobacco and vape products in pharmacies and stores containing pharmacies within the county. 

He still hopes, before he leaves office on Dec. 31, to see his Local Law E passed, which would ban the sale of flavored tobacco and vape products in the county. Included in the ban would be menthol tobacco products, the sales of which have been aimed at young people, he said. Menthol flavoring makes it easier for young people to start smoking, and harder to stop, Miller believes. 

He is sorry that a bill he supported, which would have required new single-family homes and townhouses in the county to have fire sprinklers, didn’t pass. He said of sprinklers, “They aren’t meant to put out the fire, but they do control the fire, make it a lot safer for residents to get out, and also make it safer for firefighters.” 

Realtors and builders opposed the measure as too costly.

Miller spoke out against the Sandidge Way development, at the border between Guilderland and Albany, many times to the city common council and planning board and the county planning board, because of the traffic problems he believes it will generate on Fuller Road.

He also worked with residents of the Weatherfield neighborhood when they saw their home assessments rise, he said. A drop in the state-set equalization rate in 2017, from 88 to 76 percent, caused a sudden spike in taxes for property owners on the edges of town who live in school districts other than Guilderland’s, as those in the Weatherfield neighborhood do. 

After his term ends in a few months, Miller will still have things to keep him busy. 

“I’ll still be a volunteer firefighter,” he said. 

He and his wife also volunteer regularly at the John McKenna Military Courtesy Room at the Albany airport. This room is a place for veterans and active-duty military members to relax; it supplies internet access, media entertainment, and snacks and beverages. 

He also volunteers at the Sister Maureen Joyce Soup Kitchen on Livingston Avenue in Albany, he said. 

The couple has eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild. “They keep us busy,” Miller said. 

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