This story’s been related in this space before: Congressman Tim Holden, a Democrat from Pennsylvania’s anthracite county, used to tell campaign crowds: “I’m the only one of 435 Congressmen who gets up every morning and says to himself, ‘What can I do for Schuylkill County today?’”
It’s also said that if you don’t appreciate what you have, you lose it.”
The vignette and the aphorism are germane today, with the prospective year-end retirement of state Sen. Jim Seward,
R-Milford, and now, with the emergence of county Rep. Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, as his prospective successor – and, so far, his only prospective successor from Otsego County.
Oberacker put it well: “It’s been reassuring to have a state senator who knows us by name.”
If he knows us by name, he greets us on the street, he listens to our opinions and, when we need his help, he responds.
To Otsego County citizens, there is no greater issue in this fall’s election than to keep the 51st State Senate District represented by a local man or woman. (Wait, wait: After all, regardless of how the county votes, New York State will go for the as-yet-unnamed Democrat.)
In last week’s article on Republican Assemblyman Chris Tague’s prospective run for the 51st, it was pointed out that no mention was made of Jim Barber, the Schoharie farmer and son of former Ag & Markets Commissioner J. Roger Barber, the prospective Democratic standard bearer.
In our defense, that part of the article dealt with trying to identify in-county successors to Jim Seward.
But we’ll admit that Barber simply didn’t figure in our, granted, somewhat parochial, ruminations.
Of course, former Oneonta Mayor John Nader, now SUNY Farmingdale president, came to mind, as did the charismatic Dan Crowell, former county treasurer and a military man.
Mayors Herzig of Oneonta and Tillapaugh of Cooperstown are prospects and, even moreso, Tillapaugh’s predecessor, Jeff Katz, still in his 50s and with plenty of brains and drive.
Come on, Democrats, put your best (local) foot forward.
Regardless, Peter Oberacker is a fine prospect.
On the one hand, he’s got a down-home personality, a friendly smile and welcoming demeanor.
He’s easy for everyone to talk to, evident in his repeated election in the Town of Maryland and, now from his Maryland/Westford, Worcester/Decatur district on the county board.
On the other hand, he can operate in sophisticated circles as well, working for Fortune 500 U.S. companies and German food-processor Budenheim.
He’d be equally comfortable on the sidewalks of Edmeston and Albany’s plush Senate chambers.
Plus, he has ideas and the oomph to move them forward, evident in championing the 30-job distribution center on Schenevus’ I-88 exit.
Let’s get behind an Otsego County successor to Senator Seward.
So far, Oberacker’s the only one. Other ones may emerge. But if they don’t, he’ll do fine.