Dedication to the Next Generation

Albany’s mayor expresses his views on today’s students

Ming Wong, News Co-editor

As the leader of the city of Albany, Alexander D. Johnson II started off as a citizen without much knowledge of the local government that served him. Owning a business at the time, he was unaware that the area of town that he resided in was zoned for Albany’s second ward until an introduction by a member of the city council, who was also his neighbor. 

     On the wall of his office at the business where he still currently works you’ll find a map. On it you’ll find the face and name of the mayor himself and the two city council members from each of the three districts, otherwise known as wards, that make up the city of Albany. He says that it exists as a way to show people who they’re represented by in the city council when he’s asked questions. 

     “If you look at a military unit, that would be seven captains,” said Johnson II. “[B]ut I am the captain of the captains.”

     Being the “captain of the captains” for the city, he says he has received everything from written letters to emails and phone calls to visits at his office from students in the community—attributing increased attention to current events as a result of the pandemic. 

     However, he wants to increase the connection even more between students and the government that serves them in such ways as visiting classrooms.

    “It was like a town hall, like I was talking to voters,” said Johnson II in reference to his visit to West Albany’s leadership class on Feb. 14. “ People expressed their concerns and asked me questions about my vision for the city of Albany.” 

     He said during the time spent with the class they talked about safety and financial education, as well as many other things, and the notes from the visit were sent off to the school board, an organization he says could be more connected and open to the community that it serves.        
    “In my city, where I grew up, the mayor would have never talked to me. That’s a fact. [This] generation has access to more information faster than we could get it,” Johnson II said. “You have the opportunity to be an influencer in local politics.” 

     His contact information can be found on the city of Albany website and the mayor says that the city uses the social media platforms of TikTok, YouTube, and Facebook to provide updates on what the city’s doing.