Folks throughout the area have asked me at least a thousand times, “How did you get all those leaders of Otsego County to be in your film?”
Here’s the “Reader’s Digest” version.
I first met former Oneonta Police Chief Douglas Brenner while working on another project. The introduction went something like this: “Hi! My name is Lori. You don’t know me, but I’m going to make a movie here, and I may need your help. By the way, here’s a cake I bought for you, and my contact information.”
Why he didn’t pull a weapon and chase me away, I’ll never know.
I want to thank you for the special tribute edition included in last week’s Hometown Oneonta/Freeman’s Journal highlighting my 34 years in the state Senate.
I am also deeply appreciative of all the words of good wishes and anecdotes that were submitted by so many area residents, community leaders, and family. Reading the comments brought back so many memories of my time in office. Thank you all!
I have cherished the opportunity to serve the people of our district and, in particular, represent the county where I grew up. I believe this area is the best place to live, work and raise a family, and I have always endeavored to build on the traits that make it so special.
Whatever successes I have had as a senator were not accomplished alone. I have been blessed with the loving support of Cindy and my family, as well as outstanding staff members – the best in the state Senate.
I have also been fortunate to partner with many wonderful individuals, organizations, local governments and community leaders.
These working relationships have helped improve the lives of those I have had the privilege to represent. It was these partnerships and true friendships that truly helped me succeed to make our area the best it could be.
To all the residents of Otsego County and the 51st District, thank you so much for your unwavering support and confidence over the years. I have always considered working for, and with, you to be an honor of a lifetime.
State Senator (retired)
Editor’s Note: In producing our Tribute to James L. Seward edition last week, these two tributes were inadvertently left out.
Country Club Automotive
Respect! Retired Senator Jim Seward has earned that from all of us.
In this era of public mayhem Senator Seward’s career is an example of what polite, respectful discussion from differing points of view can look like and sound like. His unruffled demeanor and calm answers are what we should aspire to emulate.
Senator Seward has always been available and attentive to constituent’s needs and concerns. He has been a great champion of our region and has helped many projects become possible through his help. His understanding of the needs of healthcare, education, manufacturing, insurance, tourism, and retail have enabled him to be a very effective advocate for us in Albany.
We have always gotten our money’s worth from Senator Seward. Thank you Sir! I hope you have a very long and enjoyable retirement, you have earned it.
BRUCE J. HODGES, President Leatherstocking Railway Historical Society Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley Railroad
Our organization’s relationship with Senator Seward started in the 1980s while he was working for his predecessor Senator Riford. Jim was instrumental in assisting us in the purchase of our property in Cooperstown Junction.
In the mid 1990s, Jim’s support of our efforts to build a railroad museum in Otsego County got a major boost when Jim secured the matching funds in the state budget that allowed us to purchase and start operating the Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley Railroad, right in his backyard in Milford.
We couldn’t have done it without Jim’s continuous support over the years, and we will be forever grateful and proud to have had him as our State Senator.
BURLINGTON FLATS – Army Cpl. Michael Mayne of Burlington Flats, killed in Iraq in 2009, will be inducted today into the State Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame, state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, announced yesterday.
Seward called him “a true American hero,” adding, “Michael was an exemplary soldier who cared deeply about his country and the men and women he served alongside. Tragically, Michael lost his life in Iraq in 2009 and his ultimate sacrifice must always be remembered.”
Mayne, then 21, of Burlington Flats, was serving with Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was assigned to the 5th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment of the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, a unit of the 25th Infantry Division based at Fort Wainwright, Alaska.
“In late March, I got a cough, a hacking cough,” said state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, now recuperating at home from a narrow escape from COVID-19. “I didn’t think a lot about it.”
Then, “I started feeling quite fatigued and lethargic.”
Also suffering from a second cancer bout – the first was in 2016 – he went to Albany Medical Center Thursday, March 26, for routine chemotherapy.
“They always take your vital signs before: I was running a high fever,” he said in an interview Monday, April 27. He was tested for the coronavirus: “The next day, midday, it came back positive. They knew what it was.”
Other members of the state Senate and Assembly have acquired the virus, including state Rep. Brian Miller, R-New Hartford, who represents four Otsego County towns. (At St. Luke’s, Utica, he was taken off a ventilator this week after a month on the machine.)
“I have no idea where I picked it up,” said Seward. He noted one of his staff members – now fine – also tested positive, but, with the state Senate in session, “I didn’t spend much time in the (Oneonta) office.”
The day he tested positive, the senator’s chemo was cancelled. He reported to Albany Med’s emergency room. “Subsequently, I was admitted to the hospital,” he said.
“For a few days in the hospital, I was running a high fever. They gave me Tylenol; it would go down. Then it would go back up. After a few days, the doctors talked to me: that I should go to the ICU.”
He remembers little of what happened after that.
“I have no memory of being on the ventilator,” he said. “I was in an induced coma. I have no memory of that. Only what people have told me. What my family has told me.”
Over two days in the coma, “my numbers improved and they were able to take me off the ventilator. It was a relatively short time. Sometimes, the longer you’re on it, the worse it is.”
Back in a regular hospital room, his fever was gone. At first, he remained on oxygen, “to get my breathing back. By the time I left the hospital, I had been off oxygen for a day or two, walking about my room, anxious to get home.”
Originally expecting a single-day chemo treatment, the senator ended up spending 18 days hospitalized, from March 26 to April 13.
The senator said he agreed to an interview to be transparent to his constituents. A Milford native, Seward has represented the county in Albany for 35 years, announcing after the cancer returned that he will retire at the end of this year.
“It’s important to keep people informed,” he said. “I knew there was a lot of concern.”
For now, there’s “no timetable” for his recuperation. “I’m getting stronger every day,” he said. “For the foreseeable future, that’s the way it’s going to be.”
With what Governor Cuomo’s labeled “the PAUSE,” there are no events at the state Capitol. “It’s an opportunity for me to take advantage of this PAUSE – as it’s called – to regain my strength.”
Meanwhile, he’s working from home, participating in a lot of conference calls.
Last week, his office issued a press release, with Seward asking Governor Cuomo to release the necessary data – declining infection rates, for instance – so the Mohawk Valley Economic Development Region that includes Otsego County could begin preparing to wind down.
There’s also talk of resuming the legislative session – via Zoom. “I’ll be able to participate,” he said.
And he thanked all the people rooting for him.
“I am so thankful to, certainly my family, and for the outpouring of good will and prayers from so many people in this area,” he said. “I’ve been truly blessed with those good wishes and prayers.
MILFORD – “The next few days are crucial” for state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, who has “slightly improved” since being placed in a medically induced coma Thursday morning at Albany Medical Center, his wife Cindy told the Milford community in a Facebook post this afternoon.
She said the briefing was prompted by “all of our friends in our Milford community who have reached out with care, concern, and love, (about) my husband’s and my status.”
ALBANY – State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, joined with the Senate Republican Conference in sending Governor Cuomo a “COVID-19 Action Plan” that includes programs for public safety, but also to assure the viability of small business and the welfare of employees.
“It is essential that we enact a comprehensive plan to protect health and well-being and also safeguard our small businesses and employees,” said Seward. “The governor has taken a number of steps to combat the spread of Coronavirus, but there is a great deal of uncertainty regarding our economy.
Editor’s Note: In light of yesterday’s Siena Poll finding that 55 percent of New Yorkers support rolling back the state’s bail reforms, here are state Sen. Jim Seward’s recommended adjustments, reprinted from the Feb. 13-14 editions of The Freeman’s Journal and Hometown Oneonta.
Another week in Albany but still no legislative action has been taken to fix the disastrous bail/discovery laws that are continuing to wreak havoc across our state.
Protecting the public is one of the most important responsibilities of government, and when a crime has been committed, the victim, not the criminal, should be our first concern. Unfortunately, the disastrous new bail laws have completely reversed those priorities, endangering communities and empowering repeat offenders – while also forcing new costs on taxpayers.
SCHENEVUS – County Rep. Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, who is also president of FormTech Solutions, a national food research consultancy, is exploring running for the 51st District state Senate seat to succeed James L. Seward, he said yesterday.
Last evening, Assemblyman Chris Tague, R-Schoharie, considered the front-runner for the nomination. pulled out, saying he has commitments to fulfill in his 102nd District job.
Otsego County GOP Chairman Vince Casale said he will be introducing Oberacker to other county chairmen in the nine-county district over the next two weeks to firm up support for the candidate.
Editor’s Note: This editorial is reprinted from this week’s editions of Hometown Oneonta & The Freeman’s Journal, on newsstands now.
The news that state Sen. Jim Seward’s cancer is back – his office issued a press release Wednesday, Nov. 6 – brings two immediate reactions.
One, fingers crossed. Advances in cancer-fighting research can mean five years, 10 years – and more – of active living. Everyone’s got a story of a happy outcome.
Two, reflections immediately come to mind on the ongoing Seward Era of Otsego County politics. It’s been a charmed one, and to reflect on it underscores how his recovery will be good news for all of us.
Just think about this decade, the State Sen. Jim Seward Decade, if you will.
By State Sen. JIM SEWARD, R-Milford • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ALBANY – While the 2019 state legislative session concluded several weeks ago, discussion continues to swirl around one of the more controversial new measures approved this year – the so-called “Green Light” law.
he new law, which formally takes effect on Dec. 14, 2019, would permit illegal/undocumented immigrants to apply for standard driver’s licenses using forms of foreign identification. The majority of New Yorkers are against the idea and prior to the Senate vote on the bill, I heard from a great number of constituents who voiced strident opposition.
By State Sen. JIM SEWARD • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
Earlier this year the New York City-centric state Senate leadership, for political reasons, blocked Amazon and 25,000 jobs from coming to our state. Now, in the closing hours of the 2019 legislative session, the same group of “leaders” are killing off existing jobs by targeting our state’s number one industry – agriculture.
To be clear, when New York was announced as the winning site for the Amazon HQ2 project, I raised questions. The lack of transparency involved in constructing the deal was concerning. I have stated very clearly that we need more accountability and input when it comes to all of New York’s economic incentive programs.
COOPERSTOWN – The good news is, if you want a job as a registered nurse, retail supervisor of information security analyst around here, you’ve got it.
The bad news is, young people aren’t participating in the workforce as before, and people generally are leaving the area.
Overall, if you really want to work, go into the hospital and healthcare fields.
That was the news Christian Harris, state Department of Labor analyst for the region that includes Otsego County, shared with 70 attendees at a Workforce Summit underway today at The Otesaga, co-sponsored by the Otsego Chamber of Commerce and State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford.