Times Union Watch: Robin Dalton, Commissioner of Public Safety, Drops Her Republican Registration

[JK: I received a press release from Robin Dalton announcing her decision to change her registration from Republican to Independent.]

Robin Dalton


Contact Info@DaltonforSafety.com                                      February, 2021                                               

Dalton to Seek Re-Election with ‘Community First’ Approach 

My experience living in Saratoga Springs has reaffirmed my belief that it is the unique passion and dedication of Saratogians that has made our ‘City in the Country” such a remarkable place to live. 

In my role as Public Safety Commissioner, whether at the City Council table or in conversations with constituents, my decisions have always been based on my commitment to good governance, honesty and a persistent search for common ground.

In the last few years, I have struggled to find the value of party politics and partisanship in our city. Fortunately, in my run for office in 2019, I joined other like-minded candidates who prioritized city over party.

Now having served the City for over a year, I remain committed to representing a wide diversity of thought and to giving voice to every resident in fulfilling my role as an elected public servant. To that end, after much careful consideration, I have decided to run for re-election with no party affiliation at this time. 

I remain deeply grateful for all of the support I have received from the City Republican Committee in my first year in office and hope to continue to build on that trust in the coming months as I seek a second term as Commissioner of Public Safety in November. [JK: My Emphasis]

Contrast this restrained statement with the February 11, 2021, article by Wendy Liberatore on Commissioner Dalton’s decision. She quotes Commissioner Dalton as saying:

“It’s turned into a party of racism, intolerance and hatred,” she said. “Those values fly in the face of the principles our country was found on. I’m deeply uncomfortable with where they are headed and I knew it was something I was not comfortable being a part of.”

Times Union Story

Commissioner Dalton’s release was clearly crafted to be respectful of the local Republican Party. I have no idea what the context of her harsh attack on Republicans as a whole was. I assume she was responding to questions about the impeachment proceedings and the state of the Republican Party in Washington.

I don’t know whether Wendy Liberatore, who wrote the article, simply ginned it up to generate web clicks or whether she was perverse enough to have enjoyed playing a little mischief at Commissioner Dalton’s expense but the result was unsurprising. Chris Obstarczyk, the chairman of the city’s Republican Committee issued a strong statement taking exception to Commissioner Dalton’s remarks. (see below).

I am acquainted with Mr. Obstarczyk and several members of the Republican Committee. While I do not share their approach to government, these are reasonable and civil people. I do not know all of the people on the committee, but I expect there are some who are enthusiastic about Donald Trump in spite of his worst excesses.

It is worth taking the time to read the platform of the Saratoga Springs Republican Party. The platform includes none of the hot button, incendiary, national issues. It basically focuses on making Saratoga Springs better. There is nothing about immigrants, walls, masks, socialistic Democrats, or stolen elections.

Here are a few excerpts from their platform.

  • We believe in helping people to help themselves. It takes a community. We believe in protecting the most vulnerable of our citizens at a responsible cost to the taxpayers.
  • We embrace all segments of our community regardless of race, gender, age, or other factors.
  • We support our ‘City in the Country’ development plan and encourage the use of our greenbelt area for recreation and pleasure whether it be biking, hiking, or trail use.

Saratoga Springs Republican Chair Chris Obstarczyk ‘s press release:


“Unfortunately, Commissioner of Public Safety Robin Dalton is too focused on national politics when the safety of our community should be her paramount concern.

To stereotype and paint all Republicans, including police and fire personnel in her own department, in such broad strokes as racist, intolerant and hateful is offensive, divisive, tone deaf and untrue.

Ironically, the Republican Party is the party of tolerance and its mission is not set on censoring opposing viewpoints or engaging in cancel culture.

Saratoga Springs Republicans are focused on issues that affect Saratogians as reflected in our platform.

We are committed to keeping Saratoga Springs the great place to work, live, raise a family and visit that it is and will support a candidate that is focused on their job and backs our first responders including police and fire.”

To learn more about what the Saratoga Springs GOP stands for, please check out our platform at LINK

8 thoughts on “Times Union Watch: Robin Dalton, Commissioner of Public Safety, Drops Her Republican Registration”

  1. Wow! Much to ruminate on here.
    Kudos to Ms. Dalton for making a stand, regardless of her motivations. As a former elected official, I can assure all readers that it takes a significant amount of courage to stand-up to the “machine,” regardless which party it may be. Hell hath no fury like a scorned political party.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Here is a post I put on the Republican Facebook page that, no surprise, is not being shown:

    I am appalled at the vitriol that so many have aimed at Commissioner Dalton anytime she has dared to have an idea that was not approved by them and specifically now that she has chosen to leave the party. Did you support someone just so they could carry your water or did you want someone who is able to do what is best for the city in any situation – even if sometimes you don’t agree? Are you really that myopically biased?

    I’m sorry that this committee (and Chris in particular) has chosen to put the focus of the article in a completely negative.

    How about:

    “Partisanship and party politics don’t have a place in Saratoga Springs,” Dalton said. “I feel they are more detrimental than anything else. The decisions I make at the city council have nothing to do with any political ideology at all. It’s about what is best for the city. It was an obvious choice to make, but it risks my being re-elected.”

    Or perhaps respond in a civil and intelligent manner to the following:

    “She said we live in a time when people tell her she can’t both support police and address issues of race. But as a moderate, she said she disagrees. “That’s depressing and reflective of division that has been festering in the country for the last few years. Either side should not be politicized.”

    Shame on those of you who have chosen to take this approach. I’m sure it would be a stretch for any of you to think about the fact that the vitriol and myopic bias some have thrown the Commissioners way over the last many months (God forbid she disagree and have her own thinking) may have contributed – just a bit – to her making this decision. How easy do you think it is to stick with people who think slamming her at every turn (without talking to her unless it’s to berate her)?

    Shame on those of you who have done this! I’ve worked in City Hall and Robin is one of the most open, honest and hard working Commissioners I’ve had the opportunity to witness

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t understand her statement in the T.U. I have no issue with her switching to Independent, but attacking the party that supported her and calling them racist ill advised.
    I myself once supported Trump, but with recent events, no longer do. But I’m not going to paint broad strokes against those that still do. Good Blog John…

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Without a correction or retraction from Wendy Liberatore, or a statement from Robin Dalton that the TU quote attributed to her is incorrect, the reader is left to assume that the quotes came from Commissioner Dalton. JK – if you receive such a retraction or correction – please let us know.

    This past year was a tough political landscape for Commissioner Dalton, whom I know personally and get along with. I certainly did not envy her position while she had to deal with COVID and the protests downtown involving public safety and racism. Anyone with a sliver of empathy could imagine the amount of stress involved with the position. As someone who values all viewpoints and is not registered with a party, I can understand Commissioner Dalton’s move. It is her right to change her voter registration.

    This past fall I worked with Chris Obstarczyk on a nonpartisan effort to successfully defend our city’s charter with a group of dedicated individuals from multiple political parties and diverse backgrounds that care about our city and its future. We had Democrats, Republicans, and No Parties (such as myself) in the group and we all got along. It was refreshing to learn together, work together, help each other, and we actually laughed together on more than one occasion! Because of this effort, Saratogians retain the right to vote all commissioners and the mayor in or out every two years.

    This is how I got to know Chris Obstarczyk personally and I find it just and prudent to say this: I witnessed Chris as the recipient of many complaints about Robin, and he never once engaged in a negative way and was at the ready for her defense, even if he may have personally disagreed with her strategies and opinions. He supported the endorsed candidate as the Chairman of his party until the very end and was very loyal to Robin. While Chris and I agree to disagree on some things – and agree on just as many things – I can say that I was impressed by how he handled the situation. I remember thinking and feeling that Robin was lucky to have that kind of loyalty. He did the duty for the endorsed candidate of his party. I can also say unequivocally that Chris Obstarczyk never uttered or promoted anything racist, extreme or intolerant in my presence or those that we worked with in our group. I think the TU statement compelled him to defend himself, his committee, and his party.

    I hope that someday they can reconcile any differences or misunderstandings that may have arisen from this. Sometimes mistakes are made, words are said, and apologies are warranted. The accumulation of anger, fear and hatred can poison a human being’s psyche, just as it might affect the local and national geopolitical climate. It can infest families and neighborhoods.

    I hope that we can all make efforts to help bring peace into an atmosphere that seems so full of confusion and anger these days. I have faith that these ominous clouds can be driven out by an attitude of gratitude. Fear, or its common mask, anger cannot exist in the same hemisphere as an attitude of gratitude. Give it a try and have a happy Friday!

    On Thu, Feb 11, 2021 at 6:17 PM Saratoga Springs Politics wrote:

    > John Kaufmann posted: ” [JK: I received a press release from Robin Dalton > announcing her decision to change her registration from Republican to > Independent.] Robin Dalton FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: ” >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Connie, Thank you for this thoughtful response. I too have had a very collegial relationship with Chris in the past. I am more than aware that there was a segment of the Republican party in Saratoga Springs that was at odds with Commissioner Dalton as they preferred she be much more to the right. They were extremely vocal on their Facebook page of Saratoga Conservative Chicks and more than direct to the Commissioner herself. They were vitriolic in their approach which I personally have never found to be effective.

      While I do appreciate the Chris supported or at least didn’t join in on the attacks, I hold that I think some of his comments in the TU article were hurtful and divisive. I continue to hold onto my hope that, here in Saratoga Springs, as we have in some instances, we could be above the partisan nastiness that has entrenched nationally. Chris has the chance to do this and he missed.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t think that Wendy Liberatore is perverse. Similar comments can be found in Saratoga Today’s account.

    I doubt that Robin Dalton is the only local Republican who is conflicted over the impact of Donald Trump on her party. She is correct in her observation that party label has little to do with City government. I would much rather see the City return to the days of non-partisan elections.

    I was sorry to hear that Robin was having friction with some members of her former party but I am pleased that she decided to follow her own instincts in determining what is the best course for our City. A conscientious Commissioner of Public Safety will never please everyone all the time.

    Chris Mathiesen

    Liked by 3 people

    1. In the Saratoga Today piece it makes it clear that she is talking about the national Republican Party rather than the local committee. The Saratoga Today story includes ‘… The Republican Party on a national level has taken a very extreme turn.” Or:
      “I am so appreciative of every party that supported me in 2019, especially the Republican city committee. They were incredible. They got me elected. And I’m deeply appreciative of their support and hope I will continue to have that support,”
      Wendy leaves this kind of thing out so it appears that Robin Dalton was attacking the entire Republican Party including the local committee.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. Two thoughts:
    1) Unless there are plans to construct one along the Hudson River next to Warren County, I have minimal interest in Supervisor Veitch’s or Commissioner Scirocco’s position on a border wall…. Certainly, there are a host of international and national issues (i.e.: climate change and race relations) that have impact locally, but I fail to see how affiliating with a national party label helps us deal with these issues locally – in fact, taking on the mantle of the Democratic or Republican Party can often saddle office-holders with a host of pre-ordained policy positions that act as an albatross-limiting contemplation of creative solutions.

    Make no mistake: This is the price candidates pay to avail themselves of campaign funds from County, State and sometimes National Party finance committees. Unfortunately, it’s the voters who pay the bill in the form of lock-step, subservient and overall mediocre policy outcomes.

    2) I believe that an overwhelming percentage or those who supported Robin Dalton in the last election (full disclosure: myself included) did so because of her charecter and independent approach to local issues, and not because she looked good posing with an elephant or a donkey around her neck; and will vote for her again regardless of party line.

    I personally could care less if she ran on The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party line – and in some important ways that would be preferable!

    Liked by 1 person

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