POUGHKEEPSIE – Just 16 days before his 78th birthday, Democrat Wesley Lee announced that he is seeking the Democratic nomination to run for mayor of the City of Poughkeepsie in November of 2023. Lee is prepared to battle for the nomination against fellow Democrat, Councilwoman Yvonne Flowers who launched her mayoral campaign on December 22nd. At least one other Democrat is expected to announce their candidacy before the month’s end.
Lee, born in North Carolina in 1945, was surrounded by supporters including Democratic Legislators Craig Brendli and Barrington Atkins along with City of Poughkeepsie Councilman Evan Menist during his kickoff on Thursday evening.
Prior to addressing the crowd, Mr. Lee told Mid-Hudson News that he is seeking the nomination because “Poughkeepsie can do better and I plan to give Poughkeepsie better.” Lee laid out his platform that includes “making sure the children get a better, “top-notch” education, opening up the waterfront, getting guns off the streets, and bringing transparency to city hall.”
The latest mayoral candidate has lived in Poughkeepsie since 1989 and spent several years as a diversity consultant. He was employed by the Poughkeepsie City School District from October 2006 to June of 2007 as the Coordinator of Even Start, a federally-funded program in the district. In 2006 Mr. Lee sued the PCSD alleging he was paid less for his work than his three whiter predecessors, who all had the same salary. The court found no wrongdoing by the district and the case was dismissed. Lee returned to the district in late 2006 as a coordinator for another similar federally-funded program.
Seventy-seven-year-old Lee was confident in his ability to secure the money to run a primary campaign followed by the November general election. Asked if he was concerned about fundraising, Lee said “No – I’m not. I’m pretty sure that I can get the donations.” Addressing the primary election against Councilwoman Flowers, Lee shrugged the challenge off. “I’ve committed to doing this and I’ll just do what needs to be done to do it.”
Councilwoman Flowers responded to a request for comment from Mid-Hudson News on Thursday night and reaffirmed her commitment to the challenge, saying to Lee “Congratulations on your announcement – I’ll see you in the primary.”