Meet John Tkazyik, age 32, Republican Mayor of Poughkeepsie, NY.

Meet John Tkazyik, age 32, Republican Mayor of Poughkeepsie, NY, a city with a 3:1 democratic registration edge.

On Tuesday, Tkazyik was reelected to his second term in a city that is 30% minority and where more than half the population relies on some sort of public assistance for food, shelter or health care.

John Tkazyik is one of the most talented public figures I’ve met and he deserves some notice and credit for what he has managed to do.

First elected at the age of 28 in a very democratic year, he inherited a budget $2 million in the red, a city with a vacant downtown, no grocery store, an aging infrastructure and a drug and gang problem that forced people to keep their doors and windows locked around the clock. Businesses were fleeing the city because of red tape and annual double digit tax increases. There were no jobs to be found, minimum wage or otherwise.

John governed as a Conservative, and put a happy face on his ideology. He pared and streamlined the workforce, froze salaries, and managed to avoid massive layoffs of the city workforce by eliminating positions as employees left or retired. Despite massive cutbacks in state and federal aid, he kept the police department at full strength, increased police foot patrols, created a special police unit to crack down on gangs and established a “cash for tips” program that helped get illegal guns out of the hands of drug dealers and gang members. Violent crime dropped 30%.

He kept increases in the tax levy below 1% each of the last three years, paid down some of the city’s debt and refused to borrow money to pay operating expenses, as previous mayors had done. He cut the city budget three straight years and eliminated bureaucratic red tape in the city’s business permit department.

As the business community saw opportunity and a business friendly Mayor, new investment flocked to the city. Downtown came back to life. High end restaurants moved in and started hiring. Two grocery stores came to downtown. Developers came to the City’s waterfront along the Hudson River with cash in hand wanting to invest.

And Tuesday evening, a very democratic city rewarded a very young Conservative Republican Mayor with another term.

Is there a lesson in this for conservative candidates who are running to public office? Yes. Allow it to inspire you.

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Political consultantJay Townsend works with smart, passionate candidates who want to run for office, win elections and make a difference. He has successfully helped candidates learn how to run for the U.S. Senate, how to run for Congress, how to run for Mayor and develop a winning campaign marketing strategy.

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