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Alice Green

Photo: Teri Currie

The Capital Region’s most influential community leaders and public advocates of the past 30 years

Now this is a heartwarming list. If you are ever feeling cynical, just remember that the Capital Region has no shortage of hard-working, selfless people. Looking over the names of community leaders that our survey has produced reminds us that over the years many of our neighbors have found many creative ways to be good and decent to one another.

Topping our list is Dr. Alice Green.

Green started the Center for Law and Justice in Albany in 1985 to offer legal assistance to those in need, to monitor criminal justice activity, and to advocate on behalf of people of color and the poor. Whether serving as Gov. Cuomo’s deputy commissioner for the New York State Division of Probation and Correctional Alternatives, or campaigning for lieutenant governor or Albany mayor, Green never lost track of who she was really working and fighting for.

Following Green is a legend of Center Square. Reszin Adams, who was known to younger generations for her weekly radio show on WRPI, boasts a long and meaningful history advocating for environmental issues and wise living. She was instrumental in stalling the plans to destroy Center Square with a highway. She was crucial to the development of Save the Pine Bush, and was an originator of the local food co-op movement. In fact, the odds are pretty high that Adams was involved in any of the major political battles over the past four decades.

From the remainder of our winners, we find household names, such as Blair Horner and Alan Chartock, who have earned their notoriety through decades of single-minded and fierce dedication. We also find men like Yusuf Burgess and Charles LaCourt who fought against overwhelming odds and have since devoted their lives to helping younger generations in the same fight.

It is an appropriate coincidence that Judi Enck and Save the Pine Bush tied. Enck and the stalwart advocates in Save the Pine Bush share a deep love for the environment and a calling to preserve and protect the natural beauty surrounding the Capital Region and throughout upstate New York.

And no list of tireless advocates would be complete without Hunger Action Network’s Mark Dunlea, who this year delivered his 20th People’s State of the State.

Survey respondents ranked up to 10 choices, and points were tallied as follows: 10 for 1st place, 9 for 2nd, and so on.

1. Alice Green (66)

2. Reszin Adams (22)

3. Mark Dunlea (19)

4. Yusuf Burgess (16)

5. Tie: Judi Enck (14); Save the Pine Bush (14)

7. Decky Lawson (12)

8. Blair Horner (11)

9. Tie: Alan Chartock (10); Charles LaCourt (10); Tom Nattell (10); David Soares (10); Lou Swyer (10)

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