Legislator Mark Whalen is the Democratic candidate for Broome County’s 15th district in the Broome County Legislature. First elected in 1992, Whalen has served as the chairman of the Broome County Legislature and has more than 35 years of experience as a firefighter and paramedic. He holds a degree in economics and business management from SUNY Plattsburgh.

1. Under your leadership, how can Binghamton strengthen its neighborhoods?

“Some examples are checking rental housing and fraternity [or] sorority houses for hazards and recommending changes, responding to health emergencies and treating residents and students and working with the Broome County Land Bank and the Broome County Health Department to identify dangers in the housing stock and repair them or if necessary, tear them down. In addition, I have purchased five rental properties in Binghamton, and invested [more than] $100,000 of my savings to repair, maintain and upgrade these properties for safe, attractive and affordable housing and stabilize several neighborhoods.”

2. What are your biggest concerns in your district? How do you propose to fix them?

“As a part-time Democratic legislator and as a full-time Binghamton firefighter [and] paramedic, the health and safety of residents, students and visitors and improving the neighborhoods where they live are the biggest concerns of residents, and has been one of the central foci of my adult life. In addition, I strongly supported the opening of a 50-bed medically assisted treatment facility to help hundreds of people struggling with addiction, [which] will give them a good chance to turn their lives around and make our neighborhoods safer.”

3. How do you envision engaging with the community and addressing the concerns it may have? More specifically, what would you do to engage Binghamton University students in these community issues?

“As an active participant of the South Side Neighborhood Assembly, I have worked to inform city, county and New York state officials of the concerns of local residents, and conducted and funded an annual tree and shrub giveaway. I will continue to conduct and attend community forums where residents and student residents can express their views and interact with elected officials and representatives of governmental and community organizations.”

4. Why should students vote for you?

“Like you, I want your educational experience at BU and your living experience in Binghamton to be safe, healthy and rewarding, and I will continue to work to make that happen.”