NEW FACES AT 197 MAIN ST.
Editor’s Note: This is the second of three profiles on newcomers will be joining the Otsego County Board of Representatives on Jan 1. Next week: Clark Oliver.
By JAMES CUMMINGS • Special To www.AllOTSEGO.com
LAURENS — An avowed conservative and lover of the outdoors, Rick Brockway hopes to bring that outlook to the Otsego County Board of Representatives.
For instance, as a long-time gun owner, the new District 3 (Laurens-Otego) rep sees a possibility of making the county an example of good practice when it comes to firearms.
“My dad was an avid hunter,” he said in an interview. “From the moment I could hold a gun he took me along, but we always respected the game. I was raised that way.”
With all the local knowledge, is there a way to showcase Otsego County “as a possible sanctuary for the Second Amendment.”
“We’re a rural county,” he said. “We’re hunters who’ve been raised with guns and know how to use them safely. It’s something I’m going to address. It’s important to me,” he said.
After taking his oath of office Jan. 2, he’ll have his opportunity. “I’m not one to sit back quietly; I’m a man of a lot of words,” he said.
The Brockway family first moved to Otsego County in 1802, farming in the vicinity of what is now Oneonta City Hall.
“In 1870, my great-great-grandfather Jesse Brockway acquired 260 acres in Lauren. My family has lived here for 149 years,” he said.
The new representative who was born in Oneonta, raised in Laurens and graduated from Laurens High School. He went on to SUNY Oneonta, obtaining a English Literature degree, then taught middle school English and Social Studies for 10 years before realizing that it wasn’t for him.
“My brother had horses out here, and his farrier, Lloyd Watson, asked me if I wanted a summer job. I’ve been a farrier ever since,” he said.
The next 40 years as a farrier connected him with people around the region.
“I used to shoe horses seven days a week. Horses are very popular in this area. From Margaretville to Cobleskill to Binghamton, everyone knows me from the horse business,” he said.
And his family’s history made getting involve “a natural step.”
“The Brockways have been in local politics for over 70 years,” he said. “My dad was either town councilman or supervisor for 50 years. He urged me to run for the councilman position and I ended up being town councilman for eight years.”
His wife Pat was a town justice for eight years, and is finishing up two terms as Laurens town supervisor at the end of the year.
“A few years ago, I decided I wanted to do something more. I wanted to give back to the community,” he said, and the county board seat seemed like a natural.
When county Rep. Kathy Clark, R-Otego, “decided not to run, I said to myself, this is my time.”
And with his first county board meeting coming up, Brockway is ready to tackle the issues of rural living.
“One thing that is important to me is the rural ambulance service. In late August I was in Jefferson trimming horses. Three kids got one of the horses tangled and it trampled their grandmother.
“It took 45 minutes for an ambulance to arrive. I witnessed the whole thing. There’s no excuse for an ambulance to be 45 minutes away. It’s one of the things I’m deeply committed to doing something about,” he said.