April 14 – Happy Birthday Bernie Kiselis

0901kisi_20130831Back in 1967, the Democratic Party in Amsterdam was chomping at the bit to win back control of City government for the first time in a decade. They were optimistic of their chances because incumbent Mayor, Republican Marcus Breier was prevented from running for re-election by a term limitation that was in force at the time. John Gomulka, a long-time Amsterdam public works administrator had been handed the Democratic nomination and was running against the Republican nominee, well-known Amsterdam Funeral director, John Betz.

This would end up being Big Mike Wytrwal’s final Mayoral election as the democratic boss of the City’s heavily Polish fourth ward. It was therefore almost poetic if not political justice that he would live to see Amsterdam’s first Polish American Mayor take office.

Not only did Gomulka win the election, five of the eight Common Council seats also went to Democrats. That’s how today’s Amsterdam Birthday celebrant, a Gomulka supporter and sixth ward Democratic committeeman named Bernard “Bernie” Kiselis, became Amsterdam’s new Public Safety Commissioner, and one of most…

You can read the rest of my story about this former Amsterdam politico in my new book “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam Birthdays.” To order your copy, click here.

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