One thing is certain: The Cayuga County Legislature’s 15th district will be represented by a Brian.
The two candidates, Brian Dahl and Brian Muldrow, are vying to succeed Cayuga County Legislator Ryan Foley. Foley, a Democrat, declined to run for a third term representing the Auburn district this year.
Dahl, a Republican, and Muldrow, a Democrat, come from different backgrounds. Dahl, who is now retired, capped off a career in emergency services by leading the Cayuga County Office of Emergency Management. Muldrow is involved in various business ventures — he has his own business, The Muldrow Group, and owns commercial real estate.
If elected, Dahl’s top priorities include public safety, addressing the needs of seniors, protecting drinking water supplies, providing more opportunities for young people and a focus on infrastructure.
Fiscal responsibility is also one of Dahl’s goals.
“I think the biggest reason why I ran is I’m tired of seeing my tax dollars being wasted and there’s time for change,” he said.
Muldrow thinks his business experience will be an asset because he knows what many small businesses have experienced amid the pandemic. But he has other priorities. One issue he wants to tackle is slumlords who own property in the city.
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While Muldrow believes there are good landlords, some of whom have dealt with “tough tenants in the past,” he says, there is a “handful of slum landlords and also inexperienced landlords that could potentially learn from some of these good landlords we have.”
“If you buy a house in the city, you should not have to be concerned and overly worried about how that neighborhood could change within 5-10 years,” Muldrow continued.
On issues affecting county government, Dahl and Muldrow have different positions. The county Legislature will need to address the management structure. The county has hired administrators in the past, but they either left the posts or were fired by lawmakers. Aileen McNabb-Coleman, the chair of the county Legislature, is now handling the day-to-day operations.
Dahl says he likes the idea of the legislature running county government. However, he thinks voters should have a say in electing someone to oversee county operations. He doesn’t think hiring another administrator is the right approach.
Muldrow wants to give the administrator’s post another try. He believes the position should be nonpartisan, meaning it would not go before voters.
Dahl gave a positive review of the county’s COVID-19 response. The concern now, he says, is testing.
“There’s very little, if any, testing being done by the county during these times of the COVID variant,” he said. “There need to be more sites available.”
The deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine has been part of the county’s responsibilities during the pandemic. But one thing Muldrow does not want to see is a vaccine mandate for employees. He does think it’s necessary to educate people about the benefits of being vaccinated against the virus.
“You don’t just get vaccinated for yourself. You get it for people you’re going to be around,” he said. “I got vaccinated because I knew I was going to be knocking on doors. I think it would be irresponsible for me to knock on doors and not be vaccinated.”
One issue the candidates agree on is redistricting. Both say that the size of the Legislature should be decreased from 15 to 13 seats. But they disagree on how to reach that target.
Dahl would slash the number of county Legislature seats in Auburn from six to four.
“Some of them are long and narrow, so it makes it difficult to figure out where you gotta go,” he said. He would also ditch the county’s weighted voting system.
Muldrow would cut one district from the city and one from outside of Auburn. He prefers districts that are more compact, which he says will benefit representatives and voters.
“Keep them small enough so that we can hear the issues, we can relate to the issues and we can be close to our constituents,” he said.
Dahl is running on the Republican and Conservative party lines. Muldrow has the Democratic, Working Families and Auburn party lines.
Early voting began on Saturday and continues through Sunday, Oct. 31. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 2.
Online producer Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.