By TED MEBUST
COOPERSTOWN – Village trustee and former Deputy Elections Commissioner MacGuire Benton announced his candidacy for Otsego County clerk on Monday, November 14. With his trustee tenure ending in April, he plans to begin his campaign for the 2023 General Election Ballot with a listening tour across the county.
“I feel ready to take on more for more people,” stated Benton.
The reopening of Oneonta’s Department of Motor Vehicles office, he explained, is a central issue to his campaign.
“It’s a matter of access for people in our county that have to do basic government business. It’s a lot to ask people to take time from work to travel from all over the county to come to Cooperstown,” he said.
Benton described his time with the county elections committee—“filing, processing paperwork and making sure that people were having their concerns and needs met”—as good preparation for the position of county clerk. He commended the committee’s “nonpartisan effort” in instituting the changes to election law that were passed down in 2021 and plans to bring that same ideology to the clerk’s office.
“It’s not a partisan job. I’m running for it because I believe that I will do the best job. I’ve spent my professional life in customer service, business development, and local government, and bringing together that combination of skills will serve me and the people of Otsego County really well,” he explained.
Benton has also overseen the growth of the Cooperstown Distillery’s sales department, which he organizes and describes as having “built from near scratch.”
“You’ve got to be creative and conscious of the limitations of government,” he said of the lessons he’s learned serving as trustee. “I have been tested both in the public and the private sector. I like to make sure that people have what they need and that they feel respected and heard. I feel people should receive high-quality service for the tax dollars that they pay.
“I believe our government can be effective, but only if it’s results-driven, and I promise people results. I will continue the good service at our county clerk’s office and do all that I can to make it better,” said Benton.
In closing, Benton reiterated his nonpartisan commitment to the clerk position, saying, “Even if you think I’m wrong about everything in the world, I’ll talk to you.”