“I love to reinvent myself and jump into new things,” says Saratoga Springs Mayor Meg Kelly of her professional trajectory. Born and raised in Saratoga, Kelly was a familiar face long before she landed on the mayoral ballot this past November. Kelly worked for 17 years as a Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) golf instructor at the Spa State Park, served as Executive Director for Saratoga’s Children’s Theatre and helped launch open mic nights for children and teens around town (one artist, Sydney Worthley, recently played at this year’s First Night celebration and gigged with local celebrity Sawyer Fredericks).
Just like every other Saratoga native, she’s seen the city grow into the highly desirable destination it is today—but unlike the average Saratogian, she now gets to run it.
Mere months into her first term, the Democrat says that she wasn’t even thinking about running for mayor at first. “I was actually going to run for supervisor,” she says. But after getting a pep talk from her boss, outgoing Mayor Joanne Yepsen, and discussing it with her family, Kelly changed course. “And the rest, well, is history.”
“As soon as I got the job as Deputy Mayor, I hit the ground running. I worked with everybody to make effective changes in the process. It’s very difficult for people who work in City Hall when there’s a mayoral election every two years. They can get stalled and be forced to wait until after the election to see which way to turn. Then it takes six months to get everyone into a routine, so it can be complex and frustrating. I tried to make the process more effective for the city and the people who work in City Hall.”
“I worked really hard to get elected in this town. Call me naïve, but I didn’t even know I was the underdog. I ran against a much-better-funded candidate who’s very well-known and respected Downtown. The difference is that I’m well-known throughout the community. I grew up here, I have roots here, and that was the deciding factor.”
“Service is the motor that drives me. I believe in giving back and working as a community. It has never been money-driven for me. It’s the thrill of the job, of accomplishment, of working together that has always been my motivation.”
“My ultimate job here is to find ways of getting people to work together in city government.”