POTSDAM — Mayor Reinhold J. “Ron” Tischler will not seek another term as mayor. However, depending on how the Democratic caucus goes, it may not be the end of his political career in Potsdam.
He made the announcement during the May Board of Trustees meeting.
“After a lot of consideration, contemplation, call it what you want, discussion and talking to my family, I have decided at this point that I will not be running for reelection for the village of Potsdam mayor in November,” he said during the meeting.
In a phone interview, Mr. Tischler said he may consider running for a trustee seat. Two trustee seats are up for grabs in November, currently held by Alexandra Jacobs-Wilke and Abby D. Lee. He said if the upcoming Democratic caucus doesn’t nominate candidates for both seats, he may consider offering up his name. He said being a trustee would allow him more free time than being the mayor.
“You can still be a trustee and not devote as much time to it as the mayor does. You don’t have the accountability and responsibility the mayor does,” he said. “If two (trustee candidates) are there and they’re nominated, accepted, that’s fine. I don’t want to let [a trustee seat] go empty.”
Mr. Tischler was first elected to office as a village trustee in 1989. He served four terms until 2005, then served a two-year trustee term until 2007, and then another four-year term until 2011. He was a village trustee from 2011 to 2015, then was elected to two more four-year mayoral terms, the last of which expires this year.
“It’s time to let some other people get in there who have some fresh, new ideas,” Mr. Tischler said.
He’s looking forward to being able to spend more time with family, and is excited to be able to travel to Florida to visit his new grandchild who’s expected in the fall.
“I’m not moving away. I’ll just visit my children more,” he said.
Although, he said, not running for mayor again “was a tough call. I did a lot of soul searching. I didn’t want to give it up but I figured it was time.”
“Do I have regrets leaving? Absolutely. There’s a lot of people I owe to, mentors. Ruth Garner was one of them,” he said. “I’ve worked with a lot of really great administrators, from Bob Burns to Dave Fenton, now with Greg Thompson.”
Looking back at his time as mayor, he said the highlight of his career is winning the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant in 2019. It’s funding projects including a Fall Island skatepark, expansion projects at the North Country Children’s Museum and Potsdam Food Co-op, and a riverwalk trail through Garner Park with streetscape enhancements.
“The whole team worked really really hard to get that. There was a lot of input from trustees, business people, education … as a group we wanted to get that funding so there are a lot of opportunities to grow the village and make it a good place to live,” he said.
Mr. Tischler also said he feels he has a good voting record because he doesn’t necessarily vote for things he personally favors.
“All my political career, I’ve always thought I would do what I think is best for the majority of the residents of the village, whether I agree with an issue or policy for myself. I always vote for the majority, hence democracy. It’s a wonderful word,” he said. “I love the village, I love what it stands for.”
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