Compo Pierce stays on Watertown council, could run for Mayor

Published: Jan. 12, 2023 at 10:27 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 12, 2023 at 11:23 AM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Sarah Compo Pierce says she’s decided to stay on Watertown’s city council and she’s considering a run for mayor this fall.

“I’ve always been taught if you start something, finish it, and I felt that I owed it to the voters and people who supported me to finish my term,” she said.

Compo Pierce had been under consideration to replace Scott Gray as representative of District 13 on the Jefferson County Board of Legislators. Gray began his term in the state Assembly at the beginning of the month.

Compo Pierce said Thursday morning that she was ready to go to the county and told county leaders she’d take the seat. But for the past week, she says, it just didn’t sit well with her.

Compo Pierce told 7 News last week that she was happy to be considered for the seat. Her appointment was expected to be on the agenda for a special Legislature meeting next week.

On Wednesday, she told Republican leaders she changed her mind, saying it didn’t feel right with the current direction the city council is moving in, referring to buying the Watertown Golf Club in Thompson Park, a move that has sparked legal action in state Supreme Court.

“I would say it was a big factor,” she said. “I don’t know if there’s anything I can do to change that decision because there is a majority of council who support it. However, I do think this is one of the biggest issues the city has been faced with in several years. I know, for me personally, I have heard from more people on this issue than any other issue in my tenure. Right now, people are looking for common sense, fiscal responsibility, transparency on city council, and, to a degree, has been lacking on city council, especially with this golf course issue, so I think I can continue to be a voice for those ideals on the council.”

Compo Pierce will stay a council member for 2023 but may make a move for mayor this fall.

“I think that would be an exciting opportunity. There’s never been a female mayor, obviously. I do think that would be something I would consider. I know that would be very demanding, but I like to think I have the skills to be able to do that. But it’s something I’ll have to think about in the weeks ahead.”

Current Mayor Jeff Smith tells 7 News he’s glad Compo Pierce will stay on the council. As for squaring off against her for the mayor’s seat, Smith wouldn’t say if he plans to run for reelection.

Compo Pierce released the following statement:

I have always been taught to honor my commitments—or, simply put, if you start something, finish it. That is why I have decided, after much thought, to fulfill my commitment to the voters and remain on Watertown City Council.

As reported in the news, I have been considering an opportunity to fulfill the term of Assemblyman Scott Gray on the Jefferson County Board of Legislators. I am grateful for the County’s consideration of me for this important role. However, in 2019, the voters elected me to represent them for four years on City Council. I owe it to them to fulfill my promise and complete my term.

Furthermore, it is apparent that now, more than ever, a voice for common sense, fiscal responsibility and transparency is needed on the Council. As Watertown tackles the challenges ahead, I know I can continue to be an advocate for those ideals.

Just over three months ago, as some may know, my husband and I welcomed a baby girl. While I have always felt the work done by our Council is important, as a mother, it has taken on a new meaning. I feel fortunate to have been born and raised in Watertown. I am committed to making our City a great place to grow up not only for my daughter, but for the many other children just like her who deserve the same opportunities I have had.

I would like to again thank the voters who have given me the chance to serve. I look forward to continuing to be your voice and working hard on your behalf to make Watertown a better place.