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News of Otsego County

Bill Magee

BUTTERMANN: Bill Magee Set Example That Others Can Follow
LETTER from DAN BUTTERMANN

Bill Magee Set Example

That Others Can Follow

To the Editor:

Bill Magee

Thank you Bill Magee.

I join community members across Upstate New York – friends and colleagues alike – to say: We will all miss Bill Magee.

His service to our communities was a lifelong passion and commitment. He worked across the political spectrum to deliver for his district and he did it without the fanfare many politicians expect to receive. He did it by acting on solutions to meet constituent needs, and not making promises he couldn’t fulfill.

I first met Bill Magee in 2013. I had an interest in public service and asked for his advice. He gave it. As we all knew about Bill – he did not add more words than needed, so his advice was short but still useful.

More than what he said to me he gave an example to follow. When I called his office to make an appointment, he set the appointment that day. I didn’t get any sort of , “I’ll get back to you.”

The day before our meeting a problem came up in his schedule. Instead of a staff member calling to reschedule, I got the call directly from Bill.

In short, I will miss Bill Magee. He served our district for many years, and as a result we have done better together. He also left us with many stories that we remember with a smile, and I suspect many reading this letter are thinking of theirs.

Going forward, I will remember Bill Magee as a friend and mentor, and whose example I hope to emulate.

Thank you Bill Magee.

DAN BUTTERMANN
Oneonta

Magee Left ‘Big Shoes To Fill,’ Colleagues Say

Magee Left ‘Big Shoes

To Fill,’ Colleagues Say

By CHRYSTAL SAVAGE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Assemblyman Bill Magee, D-Nelson, foreground, appears at an Otsego Chamber of Commerce State of the State Breakfast with state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford.

Though they were on opposite sides of the political spectrum, retiring state Senator Jim Seward, R-Milford, always knew he could reach across the aisle to Assemblyman Bill Magee, D-121.

“Bill was always among my first calls when I needed an assembly sponsor for legislation that would help our area,” he said. “And he never hesitated to join me As legislators representing overlapping districts, Assemblyman Magee and I worked together on a regular basis to address the shared needs of our constituents.”

Magee, who served in the State Assembly for 28 years, years, died Thursday, Dec. 24 at age 81.

He was elected as NY state Assemblyman in 1990, and was soon given a reputation as an advocate for farmers, serving as chair of the Agricultural committee.

“[Magee] was a huge asset to the [agricultural] community,” said Darin Hickling, NY District 9 Farm Bureau Director. “He was a huge help to and supporter of the Farm Bureau; he was always there for us – his contributions can’t be measured.”

Magee also ran an auction house, and frequently donated his auctioneering skills to Farm Bureau Benefits.

“He was a personable, approachable and regular guy,” Hickling said. “It was great to talk with him. You could go to him about any issue and – more often than not – he already knew about and was working on it.”

In 2018, after 28 years in office, Magee, then 79, lost his re-election bid to Republican John Salka after the third contest between the pair.

“[Magee] fought hard for farmers, business and the general public alike,” Assembly- man Salka said. “He was down to earth, understood the issues and was one of the most bipartisan people. I certainly had big shoes to fill when I came into the position.”

Salka has said he plans to attend the funeral services later this week.

“It is only respectful,” Salka said. “He was a good man and a family friend; even though we were opponents we had mutual respect for one another.”

Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh expressed her condolences at Monday’s Trustee’s board meeting. “He was a perfect, unassuming gentleman who always delivered and wasn’t shy about knowing more,” Tillapaugh said. “The assembly district lost a great politician who always put his constituents first and worked tirelessly on their behalf. His nearly three decades of service will live on through a number of projects.”

IN MEMORIAM: Assemblyman Bill Magee; Allied With Seward To Benefit County

IN MEMORIAM

Assemblyman Bill Magee, 81;

Seward Ally In Benefiting All

Assemblyman William “Bill” Magee

NELSON – William (Bill) Magee, who served Otsego County in the state Assembly for 28 years, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, Dec. 24, 2020. He was 81.

The younger of two children of Donald and Ruth (Hart) Magee, he lived in the Town of Nelson, outside Cazenovia, all of his life. The Magee family operated a small dairy and general store in Erieville. Bill graduated from Cazenovia Central School and Cornell University, where he earned a degree in Agricultural Economics.

He married the former Jeanette Nichols.  The couple were married for 52 years before her death in 2018.

State Zigged To Democrats, But County Zagged To GOP

Editorial for November 16, 2018

State Zigged To Democrats,
But County Zagged To GOP

The Wall Street Journal headline was sly: “Blue Wave Breaks Softly.”
The article reported that, as of Nov. 6, Election Night, Democrats gained 27 Congressional seats in the midterms, regaining control of the U.S. House of Representatives.
That pales compared to Democrats losing 63 in the first Obama midterms in 2010, and losing the House as well; still, even one-vote control is control. (As canvassing ensued, it looks like Democrats may end up with plus 35 to 40 new seats; still, not the GOP Armageddon some were salivating over. And Republicans increased their margin in the U.S. Senate.)

Whatever – nationwide. But when you look at New York State government, the Blue Wave broke hard Upstate, not least over Otsego County, with some unnerving implications.
The state Senate zigged, turning from enduringly Republican to Democratic, a feat accomplished for only two years in a half-century.
But Otsego County zagged: With the loss of Democratic Assemblyman Bill Magee of Nelson, the one state senator and four assemblymen representing our county are all Republicans, about to dive into a Democratic sea.
That can’t be good.
State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, who will be operating without Magee’s steady support in the Democratic House for the first time since 1991, said he’s used to working in a bipartisan manner.
In an interview, he used the term “equitable distribution” twice, hoping the Democrats will extend the concept that has allowed the state’s largesse to be enjoyed statewide.
That would be great, but we’ll see.
More of an issue than Democrats and Republicans is Upstaters vs. downstaters, Seward observed. Only three of the state’s 30 senators are from north of Westchester County. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.
The GOP county chairman, Vince Casale, addressed the legislative picture. Now in control of Assembly, Senate and Governor’s Office, he predicts Democrats will seek to legalize marijuana as soon as January, and will press for adoption of the NY Plan, Medicare-like coverage for all Empire Staters – exciting, but perhaps bankrupting.
Depending how hard and fast the Democrats push, what went around in 2018 may come around in 2020.
Meanwhile, even local Democrats are a bit uneasy. Richard Sternberg, the Cooperstown village trustee who is also a member of the state Democratic Committee, said he hopes that, since our mayors are Democratic (Oneonta’s Gary Herzig and Cooperstown’s Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch), the funds will keep flowing.
And, as architect of Democratic gains on the Otsego County Board of Representatives last year, Sternberg is looking ahead to creating a majority next year; he’s only one seat short.
Given the new Albany reality, becoming aligned with the ruling party only makes sense, his remarks suggested.

If anything, we here in Otsego County compounded the zag by voting heavily for Marc Molinaro, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Republican challenger.
Arguably, Cuomo’s done more for Otsego County than any governor in decades, Democrat or Republican, and did so by embracing an all-American principle: competition.
The governor’s concept – divide the state into 10 regions and make them compete for state economic-development funding, and may the best ideas win – was brilliant.
In the past five years, Otsego County has competed and competed well, winning millions annually through CFAs; (the next round of “consolidated funding application” grants is due to be announced in December). Plus, remember Oneonta’s DRI.

In the world of New York State realpolitik, here’s more good news in the returns.
While the county as a whole supported Republicans, Oneonta and Cooperstown are strong Democratic enclaves, supporting Senator Seward, the county’s favorite son, but breaking blue on everything else.
Oneonta, for its population, and Cooperstown, for its iconic status, are not to be ignored, whatever party controls the state political apparatus.
Whoever’s in charge in Albany, there’s a lot to be done here, so fingers crossed.

DEVLIN WINS FOURTH TERM

DEVLIN WINS

FOURTH TERM

Salka Beats Magee In 121st

COOPERSTOWN – Richard J. Devlin, Jr., is sheriff for another four years.

By day’s end, canvassing underway at the Otsego County Board of Elections had counted all but 387 of the absentee and affidavit ballots, and found Devlin leads challenger Bob Fernandez, the retired state trooper, by 821 votes.

The Center Will Hold – If You Vote Nov. 6

EDITORIAL FROM THIS WEEK’S

FREEMAN’S, HOMETOWN ONEONTA

The Center Will Hold

– If You Vote Nov. 6

Editor’s Note:  Below is the introduction that set the stage for this week’s editorials:  Endorsing Democrats Andrew Cuomo, Bill Magee and Chad McEvoy, and Republicans John Faso, Jim Seward and Richard Devlin in the Nov. 6 election.  Reasons for our endorsements are detailed in this week’s Hometown Oneonta & Freeman’s Journal, available on newsstands today. Click here and read the full report that informed the introduction below, “The Hidden Tribes of America,” which finds, despite the surface divisiveness we hear around us, most of us are people of good will, willing to listen and to seek a middle way, the basis for our democracy at its most successful.

As voters – in Otsego County, the 19th Congressional District and nationally – struggle to make the right decision in the Tuesday, Nov. 6, midterm elections, a study, “The Hidden Tribes of America,” surfaces with a conclusion that has been widely commented on nationally:

“A majority of Americans (61 percent), whom we’ve called the ‘Exhausted Majority,’ are fed up by Americans’ polarization. They know we have more in common than that which divides us: our belief in freedom, equality and the pursuit of the American Dream. They share a deep sense of gratitude that they are citizens of the United States. They want us to move past our differences.”

It the past two years, those of us with that sensibility have been screamed at by two sides that, it turns out, are fringes. On the left, “Progressive Activists,” according to the study, are a mere 8 percent of the citizenry; on the right, “Devoted Conservatives” are only 6 percent.

Favorite Son Buttermann Virtually Tied With Magee
NY PRIMARY 2018

Favorite Son Buttermann

Virtually Tied With Magee

Dan Buttermann

ONEONTA – On his home turf, favorite son Dan Buttermann of Oneonta almost beat veteran Assemblyman Bill Magee for the Democratic nomination in the 121st Assembly District.

In the Otsego County Democratic primary, Buttermann took 1,062 votes to Magee’s 1,097, a razor-thin 49.12 percent to Magee’s 50.74 percent – or 35 votes.

District-wide, Magee, who lives in Nelson, near Cazenovia, won 59 percent of the vote to Buttermann’s 41 percent.

Polls Open In County Today For GOP, Democrat Primaries

Polls Open In County At Noon

For GOP, Democrat Primaries

Sheriff, 2 Assembly. Statewide Nominations On Ballot

Polls will be open from noon to 9 p.m. today around Otsego County to decide who will be the standard-bearer in three local races, plus three statewide offices.

Locally:

• Republicans will choose between incumbent Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. of Milford and Bob Fernandez, the retired state trooper from Otego.

MAGEE BRINGS $2M TO FIX VILLAGE PLANT

MAGEE BRINGS $2M

TO FIX VILLAGE PLANT

In the Cooperstown Village Board chambers a few minutes ago, Assemblyman Bill Magee, D-Nelson, announced he had obtained $2 million in state funding toward $7.5 million in upgrades required at the half-century-old waste-water treatment plan on the Susquehanna at the south end of the village. Flanking the assemblyman are, from left,
In the Cooperstown Village Board chambers a few minutes ago, Assemblyman Bill Magee, D-Nelson, announced he haS obtained $2 million in state funding toward $7.5 million in upgrades required at the half-century-old waste-water treatment plan on the Susquehanna at the south end of the village. Flanking the assemblyman are, from left, John Brust, principal, Delaware Engineering; Scott Folts, plant operator; Deputy Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch, Magee, Mayor Jeff Katz; Jonathan Flyte, Bassett Hospital vice president/facilities, and Andy Bergfjord, chairman, village Board of Sewer Commissioners.  In remarks at the event, Katz called Magee, who is being challenged by Republican John Salka in Tuesday’s election, a “collosal good friend” to Cooperstown.  He also praised Otsego New President Sandy Mathes for bringing together the relevant parties to get the funding.   And he noted that state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, is seeking additional funding for the project, which he hopes can be completed with no increase in village sewer rates, perhaps sometime in 2017.   (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Political Ethics, Heroin and Education Highlight Tonight’s Debates

League Of Women Voters

Hosts Candidate Debates

Senator Jim Seward, R-Milford, and his opponent Jermaine Bagnall-Graham D-Sherburne at the debate this evening at SUNY Oneonta, hosted by the league of women voters. Main topics of discussion included renewable energy, support for Presidential candidates, money for schools, ethics in Government, the NY SAFE Act, Heroin and the struggles of dairy farms. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, and his opponent Jermaine Bagnall-Graham, the Sherburne Democrat, debate this evening at SUNY Oneonta, hosted by the Cooperstown and Oneonta chapters of the League of Women Voters. Main topics of discussion included renewable energy, support for Presidential candidates, money for schools, ethics in Government, the New York SAFE Act, heroin and the struggles of dairy farms. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Assemblyman Bill MaGee, D-Nelson, discusses his support of term limits alongside his opponent John Salka, R-Brookfield. The two discussed the minimum wage, supporting a medical suicide bill, attracting young professionals to the area, common core testing, legislative pay limits, the SUNY system and their opinion on Gov. Cuomo. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Assemblyman Bill Magee, D-Nelson, discusses his support of term limits alongside his opponent John Salka, the Republican from Brookfield. The two discussed the minimum wage, supporting a medical suicide bill, attracting young professionals to the area, Common Core testing, legislative pay limits, the SUNY system and their opinion on Governor Cuomo. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Again, Otsego Democrats Back Magee

Hennessy Out, Magee Supported

Mike Hennessy, standing at right, the Sherrill city commissioner who is again challenging Assemblyman Bill Magee, D-Nelson, in a Democratic primary, this evening asks the county Democratic Committee for support. As it has done steadfastly so far, the commitee endorsed Magee, second from left, for another term. Others, from left, are County Rep. Andrew Stammell, Town of Oneonta; former Oneonta mayor Kim Muller, and county Rep. Andrew Marietta, Fly Creek. At right is Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig and, seated in the background, is Oneonta Common Council member David Rissberger, who is vice chair of the county committee. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Mike Hennessy, standing, the Sherrill city commissioner, tells the Otsego County Democratic Committee he is suspending his primary campaign for the seat held by Assemblyman Bill Magee, D-Nelson.    He did tell Magee, seated second from left, he hopes the incumbent will fight for issues like minimum wages and marriage equality.  Others at this evening’s committee meeting in Cooperstown Village Hall were, from left, county Rep. Andrew Stammel, Town of Oneonta; former Oneonta mayor Kim Muller, and county Rep. Andrew Marietta, Fly Creek. At right is Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig and, seated in the background, Oneonta Common Council member David Rissberger, who is vice chair of the county committee.   The primary is Tuesday, April 19. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Magee: ‘People’s Business’ Top Priority

Magee:  ‘People’s Business’ Top Priority

Assemblyman Magee confers with Cooperstown Mayor Katz at county Democratis' Jedediah Peck Annual Dinner at the Country Inn & Suites last September.  (allotsego.com photo)
Assemblyman Magee confers with Cooperstown Mayor Katz at the county Democrats’ Jedediah Peck Annual Dinner at the Country Inn & Suites last September. (allotsego.com photo)

NELSON – In response to GOP County Chair Vince Casale’s challenge, Assemblyman Bill Magee, D-Nelson, said the Assembly’s business takes precedence over Sheldon Silver’s troubles  right now.

“My Number One thing is to get the Assembly back on the track, so we can do the people’s business,” said Magee, who is resting at home after a medical emergency last Thursday.

In particular, the veteran assemblyman said, getting a budget completed on time should be the lower chamber’s priority.

Casale issue a statement this morning asking Magee to declare where he believes Assembly Speaker Silver should step down after being indicted on bribery and other counts last week.

GOP Chairman Urges Magee To State Position On Silver

GOP Chairman Urges Magee

To State Position On Silver

Vince Casale
Vince Casale

COOPERSTOWN – Otsego County Republican Chairman Vince Casale today called on Assemblyman Bill Magee to make his position known on whether he still supports indicted Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

“Since Silver’s arrest on corruption charges last week, Assemblyman Magee has been a steadfast supporter of Speaker Silver.  Now that several Assembly Democrats from all parts of the state have done the right thing and stood up against the culture of corruption that Shelly Silver has created, its only right for Assemblyman Magee to let his constituents where he stands,” Casale said.

Business Leaders Grill Delegation At Chamber’s State Of State Event

Business Leaders Grill Delegation

At Chamber’s State Of State Event

The county's delegation in Albany – from left, Assemblyman Pete Lopez, R-Schoharie, state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, and Assemblyman Bill Magee, D-Nelson, field questions at the Otsego County Chamber's annual State of the State breakfast this morning at the Holiday Inn/Southside.  (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.)
The county’s delegation in Albany – from left, Assemblyman Pete Lopez, R-Schoharie, state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, and Assemblyman Bill Magee, D-Nelson, field questions at the Otsego County Chamber’s annual State of the State breakfast this morning at the Holiday Inn/Southside. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.)
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