SUBSCRIBE MY PROFILE
HOME | BREAKING NEWS | POLICE & FIRE | IN MEMORIAM | PEOPLE | OPINION | SPORTS
 JOBS  
 DINING & ENTERTAINMENT  
 HOMES  
 CARS  
 FUNERAL HOMES  
 GOODS & SERVICES

News of Otsego County

Rick Brockway

McEVOY: County Manager, Certainty; Energy, Pot Still Up In Air

THE McEVOY MEMO

County Manager,

Certainty; Energy,

Pot Still Up In Air

Editor’s Note: Chad McEvoy, the Otsego County Democratic Party’s communications director, emailed this memo Oct. 1, alerting county Democrats they are one seat away from winning a majority on the county Board of Representatives, and what it means if that happens.

By CHAD McEVOY • OCDC Communications Director

In 2019 the political stars are aligning just right to give Democrats the best shot yet at capturing an outright majority on the Otsego County Board. Building on the work we did in 2017, we are now just one district pickup away from flipping the county legislature blue for the first time in history, as far back as anyone can remember.

Chad McEvoy

This could be huge for the future of our community, so why does it seem like no one has really noticed?

Certainly people tend to pay less attention to local races. We all also worked really hard in 2018 on state and congressional campaigns and we might understandably be a little burned out. Perhaps, however, there is such an ingrained assumption that we live in a Republican-dominated area that even dedicated Democratic activists can scarcely imagine an Otsego County where the agenda is being set by a Democratic chair.

In meetings earlier in the year, when we first began to see the opportunity before us, we were almost shocked to realize that a majority was within grasp. Were we doing the math right?  What had we missed? What would it mean if we actually won? For years the possibility of a Democratic majority seemed so inconceivable that we were not even practiced in formulating the question. This, I think, is the real reason for the awkward gap we are seeing between the very real possibility of victory and the seemingly anemic level of enthusiasm on the part of the normally engaged Otsego County Democratic activist base. People just can’t quite envision it yet.

In an effort to answer this question about what we would actually do if we won, over the last several weeks I have had focused conversations with some highly engaged Otsego Democrats, each of whom came with different sets of interests and subject matter expertise.  I spoke one-on-one with them about their visions for what the county could be in a world where Democratic policies and principles are actually setting the political agenda and not constantly being stymied.

Everyone I talked to agreed that Otsego County needs to create and fill some form of a county manager role.  In order to revitalize county administration we need to take the burden off the 14 part-time politicians and vest an individual professional with the authority to manage many aspects of county business with an executive function. A good manager, appointed by a Democratic majority, could bring new energy to the county bureaucracy, perform a structural reorganization of its staff, streamline government functions, and be a singular advocate for the needs of our communities when aggressively pursuing grants and funding.  As Democrats, we support the idea that competent government professionalism should be nurtured and can provide great dividends.

Everyone I talked to also agreed that a Democratic majority could finally pursue critical green initiatives, with the goal of protecting our natural and agricultural land, increasing our appeal to tourists, and doing our part to fight climate change.  Ideas for what we could accomplish given the power to do so included things like smart invasive species control, improving energy efficiency in government buildings, pushing the county to use more renewable products, curtailing the overuse of carcinogenic pesticides and herbicides, continuing to resist fracking and other extractive land uses, supporting and promoting organic farming, keeping XNG trucks off roads where they don’t belong, and exploring the idea of selling carbon offsets to fund reforestation projects on county land.

Personally, I am motivated to win in 2019 by the idea that a Democratic majority will be able to push our part of the world to do what it can to prepare for and resist the coming destabilization of the global climate.  With a majority at our backs, a whole menu of environmentally positive initiatives moves into the realm of possibility. Under continued Republican leadership, however, nothing like this seems remotely feasible.

A number of other ideas on a wide range of topics surfaced over the course of my conversations.  One commonality, however, was a sense that these ideas could never come to full fruition if we continue doing political business as usual in Otsego County. We discussed the idea of an Otsego community college, various infrastructure improvement projects, beefing up the planning board, developing long-term capital improvement and economic development plans, improving county constituent services, and dramatically improving how the county communicates with its citizens. The problem of rural EMS availability came up several times, as did housing issues and support for animal shelters.

A favorite of mine is the idea of establishing a land bank with the mandate to buy up blighted properties. The properties would be cleaned up, historically important structures stabilized, and wetlands, farmland, and forests rehabilitated. These properties would eventually be resold at a higher price; all of this would stimulate our economy and tax base, remove unsightly messes, preserve our architectural history, and help us do our part for the natural world.  It is an idea that could make a huge difference in our community, but again, nothing like it is even conceivable under the status quo.

There are also several areas where there is a diversity of thought on the Democratic side about how to proceed—for example, on the specifics of how fossil fuel infrastructure projects should balance economic interests with environmental concerns or whether we want to roll out cannabis production and retail sales locally in a post legalization New York.  We may not always have 100% consensus, but we do have a shared understanding that we would much rather entrust these decisions to Democrats than to the Republicans who have clearly been making the wrong calls, and for the wrong reasons, for decades.

There is a fundamental sentiment that current and past leadership has done little more than manage the slow senescence of our region. Our current economy is a reflection of the ills of decades of declining population, unhealthy demographic trend lines, and systematic underinvestment in our physical, energy, information, and human infrastructure. If tax cuts, penny-pinching, and government inactivity were the real paths to prosperity, that would be plainly evident by now.  Instead we need to bring in new energy, new ideas, and new decision makers who will take positive, proactive steps toward revitalizing our region.

My purpose here has not been to prescribe all the possible things a Democratic-led county could finally accomplish, but to try to get people to start their own ideation on the topic.  What would you like to see happen in Otsego County? It’s now time to start dreaming big.

Why do we think we can win?

Because of our success in 2017, the Democrats are now in a tie with the Republicans in terms of board seats, with a total of seven each.  Yet we are denied the chair of the county board (and everything that comes with it) because of the way the votes are weighted by district. The reason that 2019 provides such an opportunity is that there are only three contested seats.  Two of these seats are currently held by Democrats, and we expect them to be fairly easy to defend.

  1. This leaves just District 3 (covering the towns of Otego and Laurens) as the likely swing district that will determine the political fate of the county. And while Republicans have a moderate numerical advantage in District 3 by registration numbers, there are several factors that make us feel extremely optimistic that we can take this seat:

  2. We already almost did! In 2017 the Democratic candidate came up only 17 votes short in the absentee ballot count.

  3. The longtime Republican incumbent is retiring, leaving this an open race.

  4. We have an extremely hardworking and dedicated candidate in Caitlin Ogden, who has been knocking on doors in her community for months, already laying the groundwork for an effective get-out-the-vote blitz in October and early November.

  5. We have already proven we can outwork the other side. A dedicated group of activists mounted a write-in campaign in the primary this summer to challenge the Republican on the Independence Party line and won. It wasn’t just a victory. It was a blowout, with Caitlin garnering 88% of the vote as a write-in against someone whose name was actually printed on the ballot.

How do we win?

We simply have to significantly outwork the other side.  Small, local elections like this hinge on so few votes (see 2017) that the side that tries the hardest is virtually assured victory.  This is why I am saying that a Democratic Otsego County is ours for the taking—if we work hard enough for it.

Of course, we will use every technique and tool at our disposal as well.  The core group of volunteers on the Ogden campaign have extensive professional experience running local- and state-level campaigns.  We are already applying battle-tested best practices around voter communications, field operations, and data collection. But we don’t yet have enough support or resources to execute a campaign plan commensurate with the size of the opportunity before us.  Quite simply, we need more money and more volunteers.

What can you do to help make this a reality?

  • Start dreaming big about what a Democratic future in Otsego County will look like.

  • Sign up to volunteer to write postcards, make calls, and knock on doors up until election day. Basically nothing in campaign tactics has ever proven more effective than an engaged volunteer with a big smile knocking on people’s doors and reminding them to vote.

  • Follow Caitlin’s campaign on Facebook and invite your friends to “like” it too. Sign up for her campaign emails while you are at it.

  • If you know anyone who lives in Laurens or Otego, PLEASE tell them about the District 3 race and how important every single vote will be on November 5. Get them to commit to vote.

  • Get involved with the Otsego County Democratic Committee. We are all deeply strapped for time and always need volunteers. We also currently have about 60 open seats across the county, and we welcome new voting members.

  • We also need to hold on to the other two currently Democratic-held seats that have challengers in 2019. Michele Farwell in District 2 (Pittsfield, Morris, and Butternuts) and Jill Basile in District 14 (Oneonta Wards 7 and 8) will need our support. If you live in those districts, please make sure every Democrat you know votes this November.

  • And, of course, please donate. Contributions will be used to fund materials, events, and advertisements to help us reach more voters. Remember, your political dollar goes miles farther at the local level than anywhere else. You simply cannot get a better return on investment in terms of actual impact on your life as an Otsego County resident than you can by helping us flip the whole of the county blue with a District 3 win. Giving $100 to your favorite 2020 presidential candidate is but a drop in the ocean, but in this race it could very well be what makes the difference in winning control of our entire county.

In working for this victory, we are also doing our part to further the rebuilding of the rural Democratic Party infrastructure, which has been nearly catatonic throughout areas like ours for decades—ignored by both the party establishment and the opposition. A strong county means a stronger base for our congressional candidate, which means a stronger national Democratic Party.  We may live in the hinterlands, but what we do here really does matter. In fact, as citizens of a purple county in a purple congressional district, what we do here matters more on a macropolitical level than perhaps anywhere else in the state.

Sincerely, 

Chad McEvoy

Chair of the Communications Subcommittee of the Otsego Democrats
Communications Director, Committee to Elect Caitlin Ogden
2017 Otsego County Board Candidate, District 6
2018 New York State Assembly Candidate, District 101
Voting Member of the New York State Democratic Committee
Sustainable Otsego PAC Board Member
Treasurer, Clark Oliver for Otsego County Board
Treasurer, Rural Majority PAC

Two more things you should know about voting in 2019:

  • For the first year ever, we will have the opportunity to vote early in New York State. Even if you don’t need to vote early, please do.  The opponents of early voting will be sure to capitalize on low turnout rates the next time the issue is up for funding. The details are here.

  • In 2019 there will be two Democratic candidates on the ballot for New York Supreme Court. These seats come up just once every 14 years. You will have the ability to vote for three candidates.  However, do not use your third vote for one of the Republicans. The three Supreme Court seats will be filled by the top three vote-getters of any party, and Democrats giving their third vote to a Republican could mean that no Democrat wins at all.  Your two votes will still count if you abstain on the third vote. Please spread this information to every Democrat you meet between now and election day.

 

Rick Brockway Family Legacy Made Political Bid Natural Step

CONTROLLING COUNTY BOARD

Rick Brockway Family Legacy

Made Political Bid Natural Step

Rick Brockway, Republican candidate for county board from District 3 (Otego-Laurens), stands in front of a barn commissioned by his grandfather, who was confident President McKinley’s election would bring prosperity, and contracted to have the job done in 1896.  (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

LAURENS – A couple of months ago, Rick Brockway, a farrier by trade, arrived at a farm east of Stamford, just over the Schoharie County line.

The grandmother there directed her grandkids: Go up to the pasture and bring down the horse.  As they led the horse to be re-shoed, it got caught in a gate.  It reared, and its front hoofs struck the grandmother; badly injured, she fell to the ground.

Brockway ordered the children off the scene.  Turning to the elderly woman, he discovered she had passed away.

He called Delaware County 911. They transferred the call to Schoharie 911, but a delay followed as the dispatcher sought to determine the accident’s exact location.

Brockway waited.  Finally, the Summit EMTs arrived at the scene.  Forty-five minutes had elapsed.

“I didn’t sleep for three nights,” he said.

So when asked his issues in the campaign for District 3 representative on the Otsego County Board of Representatives, the Republican replied:  Helping rural  emergency squads deal with declining volunteers and other challenges. (See other article, A1)

While this is Brockway’s first run for office, he’s no stranger to local politics.  His father, Jesse, who passed away at age 92 in 2009, served as Laurens town supervisor for 42 years.  Rick’s wife, Pat, served two terms as Laurens town justice, and will be leaving office at the end of this year after two terms as town supervisor.

“My family’s been in politics for 75 years,” Brockway said in an interview at the kitchen table of his Route 23 home.  He first considered running for county board in 2017, but dropped out on learning Kathy Clark, R-Otego, planned to seek a final term.  When he learned she wasn’t running again, he jumped in.

“I know their ideas,” he said of his prospective constituents.  “I know their values.  I know their wants and needs.”

Few people have deeper local roots.  After the family settled in Lyme, Conn., in the 1600s, four Brockway brothers soon headed west, walking into the Hudson Valley.

The family then migrated into the Catskills, to Stamford, where one member, Philip, became a noted gunsmith.  In 1801 or ’02, Brockways moved to Oneonta, locating on the south side of what it now Main Street, driving their cows daily up today’s Ford Avenue to  graze in the neighborhood of SUNY Oneonta campus.

Returning from World War II – his boat was narrowly missed by two U-Boat torpedoes while patrolling the Panama Canal – dad Jesse bought the 267 acres in the Town of Laurens.  His 34-cow herd supported two families, then one, before he gave up dairying once his children were grown – but not before young Rick experienced milking cows and other rural joys.

At 1964 graduate of Laurens Central, Brockway went to SUNY Oneonta in 1968, majoring in English and history, then taught at Wells, in the Adirondacks, Mount Upton and, finally, Worcester.

In summer 1980, he helped his brother, Skip, now living in Albuquerque, with his quarter horses, and met farrier Lloyd Watson, who planned to retire.

“Do you want a business?” Lloyd asked, and Brockway spent the next school year teaching days and shoeing horses after hours. “I made twice as much shoeing horses as teaching school,” he recalled.

He never looked back.  Even today, he’s out shoeing 2-3 days a week.  Contrary to some farriers, he’s willing to shoe one horse or two or three, and drives from customer to customer with a 108-pound anvil in the back of his SUV.

In recent years, he and Pat have rented their five-bedroom home to Dreams Park and All-Star Village families, spending their summers in a 39-foot trailer he set up by a pond on the back end of the property.

“I’m an outdoor person,” he added.  “I spent my life in the woods, hiking, hunting and fishing.” For his 60th birthday, he took a 120-mile hike across the Adirondacks; for his 70th, he climbed on high peaks in the Catskills.

For years, he wrote an outdoors column for the Daily Star, but was asked to set it aside for the campaign’s duration.

For the past few months, he’s been canvassing the whole district systematically – lists of streets and voter addresses are stacked on his kitchen table – with the idea of knocking on every door by Nov. 5, Election Day.

Besides helping resolve EMS challenges, he’s concerned the county has sufficient fossil-fuel resources during any transition to renewables.

He also supports full broadband for the county as quickly as possible; he and Pat have Spectrum at their home, but many of his would-be constituents don’t.

 

 

 

Dist. 3 Candidate Jumps Claim On Independent Line

OTSEGO COUNTY 2019 PRIMARIES

Dist. 3 Candidate

Jumps Claim On

Independence Line

Caitlin Ogden

LAURENS – Rick Brockway, Republican candidate for the county board from District 3, expected to coast onto the Independence Party line yesterday, Primary Day in Otsego County.

Instead, Laurens-Otego Democrats packed the polls and, by 30 votes to 4, seized the line for their candidate, Caitlin Ogden.

“Our campaign has a great deal of momentum and we’re looking forward to November,” MacGuire Benton, Cooperstown village trustee and Ogden For Otsego campaign manager, in an email.

Clark Doesn’t File Petitions For Reelection

FORMER CHAIR RETIRING

Clark Doesn’t

File Petitions

For Reelection

Brockway, Ogden Vie In District 3

By JIM KEVLIN  • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Kathy Clark

COOPERSTOWN – A dominant actor appears to be leaving the political stage:   By today’s 5 p.m. deadline, county Rep. Kathy Clark, R-Otego, the former two-term board chairman, had not filed petitions to run again for her District 3 seat.

Absent an independent filing, it appears that either Republican Rick Brockway, the outdoors columnist and farrier from Laurens, or Democrat Caitlin Ogden, a grants administrator at the Baseball Hall of Fame, will be representing the Otego-Laurens district after the Nov. 5 election.

Newcomer Seeks County Rep Seat In Clark’s District

Newcomer Seeks

County Rep Seat

In Clark’s District

If Former Chair Doesn’t Retire,

She May Face Primary In June

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Ric Brockway

Ric Brockway of Laurens, former teacher, ferrier and writer of a popular outdoor column, is running for the Republican nomination in District 3 (Laurens and Otego).

He would face county Rep. Kathy Clark, the former board chairman, unless she retires.  She did not return a call this afternoon as to her intentions.

Posts navigation

21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103