By Alberto Gilman
The City of Newburgh at-large council seat race has added more names to the list with Ali T. Muhammad, first time candidate Anusha Mehar and first time candidate RD McLymore making official announcements over the past week for the seats.
Resident Bryan Luna recently announced his run for the seat. Councilman At-Large Anthony Grice will not be pursuing re-election. The mayor’s seat, held by current mayor Torrance Harvey, and the other at-large seat, held by current Councilman Omari Shakur, are also up this year.
Over the course of the past week, each candidate had the opportunity to briefly share their announcement, speak briefly about their platform and work, and all look forward to the petition and overall race period in the coming months.
Ali T. Muhammad
Following his previous run for city mayor in 2019 and looking to continue to serve his community, Ali Muhammad announced his official run for an at-large city council seat on Thursday, January 19.
“I am actively pursuing this campaign for city council at-large. I’m throwing my hat in the race. I’m ready to serve. When I say I’m ready to serve, I mean that in every sense of the word,” said Muhammad. “I made a commitment when I ran for mayor in 2019 to continue serving as a community leader, as an organizer.”
Muhammad’s appreciation for leadership stemmed from his father who was a community imam, those who led prayer in the mosque, and helped found the current mosque in the city. In 2006, he graduated from Beacon High School. Later on in the City of Beacon, Muhammad served as a city councilman and has worked as an Executive Aide in the Dutchess County Commission of Human Rights office as well as the Dutchess County Family Services office.
Moving to the city, Muhammad has served on the City of Newburgh Police Community Relations and Review Board, coaches alongside Harold Rayford with Zion Lions, coached the Youth Goldbacks and serves on Greater Newburgh Parks Conservancy. Muhammad also founded organizations Melanin Unchained, Next Step Hudson Valley and Dear Summer Inc. Muhammad also volunteers as a basketball instructor at the Newburgh Armory Unity Center.
“Through something I’ve coined Urban Regeneration, proactively working with the youth and their families, getting them involved in the planning processes of city government, the greater chances we have in revitalizing the City of Newburgh. This can create an environment where the folks living in Newburgh, from Newburgh, and looking to grow with Newburgh, are the ones developing along with, and receiving the benefits of the growth of the city,” said Muhammad. “When the people are a part of the process, it can lead to the City of Newburgh creating policies and ordinances that address poverty, unemployment, public safety, access to healthcare, and development without further displacement - leading them to in turn, trust the process.”
Muhammad shared his focus on providing and working towards opportunities and accessibility to training for job opportunities and careers and promoting small business development and entrepreneurship if elected to council. He also would look to work more closely with the Newburgh Enlarged City School District through collaboration and programming for the community.
“This election is about bringing the community together to have a say in the growth and development of Newburgh. Voting and holding elected officials accountable are important ways to make sure that Newburgh grows in a way that benefits everyone,” said Muhammad. “Eligible residents need to register to vote and those who are frustrated with politics, as usual, to not give in to apathy. Basic needs and issues should be addressed by being involved in the process, from collecting signatures to attending candidate forums and building relationships with local leaders. The more voter participation in this local election, the better Newburgh will be for it.”
Regardless of the outcome, Muhammad shared that he will not stop working in his community; and to those who may be critical of him, he asks them to get to know him and work with him. “I have prepared already my schedule. I know how many office hours I’ll be giving, six hours a week starting next week. I’ll have multiple Meet the Candidates walk and talk events,” said Muhammad.
You can reach Muhammad at 845-728-8746 or by email at email@example.com. Further updates on social media and an official website are forthcoming according to Muhammad.
After being asked many times to run for a seat on council, first time candidate Mehar officially announced her run for the at-large council seat on Monday, January 23.
"I feel that at this time in my life and at this moment in the City of Newburgh, it made sense. And I’m just really looking forward to leading with compassion, courageous action and determination to get things done,” said Mehar. “With what I bring to the table and with what I can offer, I think that I am a diplomatic communicator, you know, a creative activist. I’ve been a successful disrupter, if you will, outside of the system for many years. I’m a savvy fundraiser, and a strategic thinker and so all of that combined has led me to this next step in leadership and it would be an honor to serve the City of Newburgh.”
Born in New York City, Mehar, a first generation Punjabi American, grew up in the New Windsor/Cornwall area. As a child, she spent time in the city working in pantries and other service programs along with assisting in medical programs and clinics as many of her family members, her father included, were in the medical field. Mehar graduated from Cornwall High School in 2006 and prior to college, she went to Thailand for a time and served as an English teacher. Returning stateside, Mehar went on to attend the College of Mount Saint Vincent and Hunter College. She completed her studies in 2010 from Hunter with a degree in Spanish Language Arts and Literature. For a time Mehar lived in the city but it was then as a part of the Newburgh Mural Project that she came back to the Hudson Valley in 2012. A few years later, she formally moved back to the area and has remained since.
Other ventures in the immediate Newburgh area that Mehar has pursued are that she is the founder of PANJA Culture and Wellness and Co-Executive Director of the Sanctuary Healing Gardens.
For Mehar, several of her focuses if elected to council are to address the current housing crisis in the city, promote environmental priorities and advocacy, working alongside the Conservation Advisory Committee, The Greater Newburgh Parks Conservancy, of which she is a member, and Outdoor Promise and fostering youth development and creativity through programming. Several examples of her work in youth development and programming include Newburgh Girl Power and the Newburgh Coding Code at the library. Mehar is a member of the City of Newburgh Arts & Culture Commission, For The Many, Quassaick Creek Watershed Alliance, Community Voices Heard and Safe Harbors.
“Thinking about creative ways to introduce mixed income housing is certainly something that’s important to me and to really advocate for. I really believe in homeownership as a pathway to creating generational wealth,” said Mehar. “Part of my approach as a person who wants to listen first and step into courageous action second is building with the community organizations that have been doing the work and that are doing the work.”
You can follow Mehar at @AnushaForNewburgh on Instagram and Anusha For Newburgh - City Council on Facebook.
First time candidate McLymore officially announced on Monday, January 23 his run for councilman at-large. A lifelong member of the city community, McLymore looks forward to the race ahead.
“I’m excited that I get to work with people and for the community that I love. This is a dream of mine, or I will say a goal of mine since I was a teenager,” said McLymore. “This is my season, I felt that this was my season, to be a part of this, the city council, part of what they’re doing and to listen to the people.”
Born and raised in the City of Newburgh, McLymore is an alumni of the Newburgh Enlarged City School District, graduating from Newburgh Free Academy in 1994. He went on to attend Orange County Community College, graduating in 1997 with an associates in applied science majoring in criminal justice. He continued his education at John Jay College of Criminal Justice graduating in 2000 with a bachelors of science in criminal justice. Since 2017, McLymore has served as pastor of the Life Restoration Church on First Street, which was founded by his father, Michael McLymore Sr.
McLymore is an active police lieutenant in the Town of Wallkill. McLymore’s 22 year law enforcement career encompasses time in Rockland District Attorney’s Office and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. He was also appointed as a senior advisor for the City of Newburgh Police Department and worked on Executive Order 203 in August 2020.
McLymore has lived in the city for the past 46 years and has since raised his four children here in the city with his wife Sharon McLymore. Additional community work and recognition includes the McLymore Foundation, the McLymore Scholarship Fund, food and clothing drives, community events and Thanksgiving drives and the corner of First and Chamber Street was dedicated and renamed after McLymore and is known as “McLymore Square” for his service to the community.
For McLymore, the decision to run for a seat on city council has been thought about for many years. To see the direction that the city is moving towards, he hopes to be a part of that change, add his voice and listen and learn. If elected to the city council, McLymore shared he would like to focus on the public safety of his community encompassing the police department, fire department, public works and other city departments with city partners but also addressing the needs of the people in this capacity. McLymore also would like to work and foster youth programs and development to deter gun violence and violence as a whole. McLymore also shared his emphasis on addressing the housing issues the city faces and infrastructure revitalization for the city during his petition period and listening to other community members about what their concerns and needs may be.
As a first time candidate, he shared he is ready to learn the behind the scenes work of the council and emphasized the importance of transparency and honesty, even in those times of critical decision making. “I commend everybody for running but at the same time, when it comes to what am I adding to the table, I’m adding experience, I’m adding somebody who has lived in this community, someone who is invested in this community for 46 years,” said McLymore. “I have to admit, I have a lot to learn. Let’s look forward to progression. Let’s look forward to making positive strides of change. And I believe that we can do this.”