By JIM KEVLIN
LAURENS – Ric Brockway is used to climbing mountains.
At 60, he put on a backpack and hiked the 120-mile Northville-Placid Trail through the Adirondacks.
Two years ago, at 70, he climbed the 35 tallest Catskills, winning membership in the 3500 Club.
This year, he’s taking on another challenge: Running against former county board chair Kathy Clark, R-Otego-Laurens, in the June 25 Republican primary.
With his wife, Laurens Town Justice Patricia Brockway, retiring this year, “now’s my time,” said the candidate, who describes himself as an “outdoor columnist and adventurer” on his Facebook page.
“I’ve always been under the impression,” he said in an interview. “If you don’t like what’s happening, you change it. It’s time I voiced my opinion on a few things.”
Brockway graduated from Laurens Central (1964) and SUNY Oneonta (1968), then taught school for a while before becoming a ferrier, and he’s been shoeing horses along the Route 205 corridor and beyond for 38 years now.
“I still do some,” he said, “with customers I’ve had for 35 years. It’s a social event anymore.”
As for adventurer, “I’ve been a hunter and fisherman. I hike. I ski. I’ve hunted in Alaska, above the Arctic Circle. Quebec. All over.”
“Rock climber. Spee-Lunker,” you name it.
As for politics, that family legacy goes back 70 years in Laurens, where dad Jesse was either a town board member or town supervisor for decades.
Brockway served two terms on the Laurens Town Board, and so did wife Patricia before running for justice.
The candidate has three children: Son Randy, an OHS phys-ed teacher and girls’ softball coach; daughter Kim Sparaco, who “lives on the family farm next to us” and is a Unalam supervisor (as is wife Patricia), and son Ric Jr., who lives in Florida.
Clark, who lost her chairmanship in January 2018 after squeaking past her Democratic challenger, Kathy Nardi, the November before, is further on the outs with the Republican Party after, denied the GOP nomination, she ran her husband as a Democrat for county sheriff.
She didn’t return a call inquiring whether she plans to run again.
But County Republican Chairman Vince Casale, Cooperstown, made his preference clear. “I wholeheartedly support him,” he said, “as do the committee people from the district.”
Brockway said he’s for low taxes. Beyond that, he’s been reading minutes of the county board meeting for the past year, coming up to date on current issues.
He plans to say more about those issues at the June 25 primary approaches.