COLONIE — It’s official, after taking the oath of office on New Year’s Day, Alvin Gamble became the first Black person elected to office since the town incorporated in 1895.
As during previous interviews, Gamble did not run away from that fact or its significance but said he looks forward to a day when race or religion or sex or any factor other than ability enters into the equation.
“It’s going to be great when we get to the day when this is not an issue and we will get there. The world is changing,” he said after being sworn in for a four-year term. “If you were sick, you wouldn’t care what the doctor was, right? You would want the best doctor whether he or she was Black, white or Protestant or Catholic or whatever. My whole campaign was about let’s get the best person for the job. And that is my goal, when I leave is to have been best person to get the job done.”
Gamble was 900 votes down on Election Day for the third and final open spot on the six-member Town Board. But after absentee ballots were counted, he edged out Republican Alexandra Velella by 58 votes, or about .09 percent.
He calls being the first Black elected in town history the “big elephant in the room” but said his successful candidacy and his election represents more than just that.
“You can touch so many different groups,” he said, pointing to his rainbow colored socks. “Obviously, I touch the African Americans and the minority groups but I am also pro woman, my wife is a nurse so she is super smart, and you have to respect knowledge and how someone presents themselves and the ability they have to do the job. That’s what is important.”
He was quick to point out the support he got from his wife, Abbey, and his mother, Carrie, and his son Jordan, who held the Bible as he took the oath, and the rest of his family and friends.
“If my wife wasn’t on board, and my son wasn’t on board, I’m not saying it is impossible, I’m saying it would have been much more difficult,” he said. “You are going out walking and knocking on doors when there are things you have to do in your own house and you say I’ll do it this weekend but you know there is a big rally or something going on this weekend so I’m glad I didn’t have that obstacle. I had total support from my wife and my son and my brother and my whole family.”
It is nearly as impossible to run a successful campaign in a town the size of Colonie without the political party support and the Democrats did a much better job with the absentee ballots that put Gamble over the top.
“You don’t see them and the people don’t necessarily see them. I get to do this [talk to a reporter and get his photo and thoughts in the paper] but these guys are working just as hard as I am,” he said. “It’s like a movie, you have the stars but you have all the people in the background, the seamstress and the guys doing the lights, and without everyone contributing it doesn’t work. You hear about that but I got to see it first hand and I couldn’t be more grateful for all the support.”