News of Otsego County

state senate

Senator Meets Senator

Senator Meets Senator

Otsego County’s past the present state senators had a chance to trade notes in Oneonta today, when Jim Seward of Milford, right, stopped by to see his successor, Peter Oberacker of Schenevus, at his District Office. (Jeff Bishop photo)
Committee Assignments Give Oberacker Inputs On Broadband, Bail Reform

Committee Assignments

Give New Senator Inputs

On Broadband, Bail Law

Senator Oberacker on the job in his Albany office.

ALBANY – Otsego County’s new state senator, Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, has been named ranking Republican on two Senate committees: Internet & Technology and Alcoholism & Substance Abuse.

He will also serve on Education, Health, Higher Education and Judiciary.

“Being tasked with leadership roles on two senate committees is a major responsibility. Both of these key committees deal with vital issues that have intensified in need during the COVID pandemic.”

New Senator Joining Salka To Stem COVID Overreach

New Senator Joining Salka

To Stem COVID Overreach

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Senator Oberacker and his wife Shannon smile at the end of his swearing-in New Year’s Day in Schenevus. (Jim Kevlin/

This could be the begining of a beautiful friendship.

Fresh from his swearing-in as state Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, in his hometown fire hall at 1:08 p.m. New Year’s Day, the freshman signaled he is planning to collaborate with Assemblyman John Salka, R-Brookfield, on two key pieces of legislation:

One, as he promised during the campaign, Oberacker plans to introduce legislation mirroring Salka’s to overturn the Democrats’ bail reform, which has allowed suspects in petty and some less-petty crimes to be immediately released.

Two, the new senator is planning to carry the flag in the upper house for Salka’s counter-legislation to two Democratic bills requiring New Yorkers to be vaccinated for COVID-19 or, in one of the bills, face possible detention. “That should be a personal choice,” said Oberacker.

“Peter and I have become good friends,” the second-term assemblyman said Tuesday, Jan. 5, the first day of the 2021 session. “I’m excited about having a member of the Senate to consider and possibly carry our legislation through this session.”

Both men appeared Tuesday morning via Zoom on the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce’s State of the State meeting.

Afterwards, Oberacker, his Chief of Staff (and former campaign manager) Ron Wheeler, and his Communications Director Jeff Bishop headed to Albany, where the senator has been assigned Office 506 in the Legislative Office Building in Empire State Plaza.

Salka was clearing his desk in his Oneida office, planning to head up to Albany Wednesday.

To help continuity between his predecessor, state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, who represented Otsego County in Albany for 34 years, the new senator will occupy Seward’s Oneonta office on South Main Street.

He has also kept most of Seward’s staff, except his chief of staff, Duncan Davie, the former Oneonta town supervisor, who retired.

Already, Oberacker said in an interview Monday, Jan. 4, constituents are calling, seeking his assistance.

On New Year’s Day, Maryland Town Justice Joseph Staruck swears-in newly elected state Sen. Peter Oberacker, whose wife Shannon
holds the Bible. Oberacker’s mother, Carol, also a town justice, served with Staruck. (Jim Kevlin/

The foremost issue is COVID-fueled unemployment. “I’ve had many inquiries. A lot of folks are wanting to know what should they do, how they should go about it.” He convened a staff meeting that afternoon “to put together an action plan.”

The second issue came out of the Mohawk Valley, where RemArms, controlled by Roundhill Group LLC, described in news reports as “a group of experienced firearms manufacturing and hunting industry professionals,” is seeking to work around the United Mine Workers in reopening the Ilion plant.

The plant, which has traditionally employed many people from Northern Otsego County, was sold to RemArms when Remington was broken up under the supervision of U.S. Bankruptcy Court, according to

Oberacker said he has been seeking to ensure to clear red tape and allow the plant to reopen as soon as possible.

The new senator attended two days of orientation at the state Capitol in mid-December, “to get to know my fellow senators,” and to get guidance from “the vast knowledge that incumbents have. It harkens back to being a freshman on campus.”

Asked about the chances of overturning bail reform, Salka pointed out that Upstate Democrats like Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon, D-Marcy, support him, suggesting he may win votes from across the aisle on his measure.

“We’re hoping to present these bills” – bail reform and blocking mandatory vaccinations – “and get bi-partisan support,” he said.

Meanwhile, he pointed out, Job One will be “the 800-pound gorilla in the room – the $16 billion deficit,” which has risen from $10 billion in a year due to COVID challenges.

Oberacker: NYS Should Send ‘Immediate Financial Relief’ After SUNY-O Crisis

Oberacker: NYS Should

Send ‘Immediate Financial

Relief’ After SUNY-O Crisis

County Will Suffer From State Bungling, He Says;
Barber Calls For Broader Relief To Localities

ONEONTA – The State of New York should provide “immediate financial relief” to Oneonta and surrounding communities for the damage caused by the mishandling of the COVID-19 outbreak at SUNY Oneonta, Republican state Senate candidate Peter Oberacker said today.

Oberacker, who is running to succeed Jim Seward, R-Milford, in the 51st District, suggested the state should react “much like you would see in response to a natural disaster.”

Oberacker’s Hand-Sanitizers Distributed From Schenevus

Oberacker’s Hand-Sanitizers

Distributed From Schenevus

Bill and Phyllis Denny, Oneonta, drove out to the Schenevus Fire House this afternoon, where county Rep. Peter Overacker, the Republican candidate to succeed state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, was handing out free hand-sanitizers.  In the past week, Oberacker converted the lab at Form Tech Solutions, his product-development company in Schenevus, to manufacture 400 bottles of hand-sanitizer to help fill a shortage caused by the coronavirus threat.  Earlier, he had gone door-to-door, handing out 80 bottles.  The rest of the bottles will be distribute, one per family, 4-6 p.m. Wednesday, also at the fire hall.  (Ian Austin/




Both Senator, Wife Cindy Found

To Suffer From ‘Mild Cases’ Of Virus

Senator Seward and his wife Cindy at a recent appearance.

ONEONTA – State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, and his wife Cindy have both tested positive for COVID-19, his office announced a few minutes ago.

Seward was tested at Albany Medical Center, where he continues to receive treatment.  He was diagnosed with a mild case of the virus and is expected to make a full and complete recovery.  He will be released from the hospital shortly and will remain under quarantine at home.

His wife Cindy was tested at Bassett Hospital.  She is also suffering from a mild case of the virus and is quarantined at home.

Political Races Aplenty In 2020

Political Races

Aplenty In 2020

Lawyer Challenges Delgado;

Jim Powers In Assembly Run

Both candidates for the 19th Congressional District seats were in Otsego County in recent days. Republican Kyle Van De Water, left, shakes hands with county committee members at the Worcester White House Inn Thursday, Feb. 13. Democratic incumbent Antonio Delgado, right, poses with State Committee Member Richard Sternberg and Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch at the Rotary Club meeting Tuesday, Feb. 18, at The Otesaga. (Jim Kevlin/

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Having filled a vacancy on the Millbrook Village Board in 2017, Republican Kyle Van De Water, a Poughkeepsie lawyer, ran for a full term in 2018.

As he knocked on doors and handed out literature, he discovered volunteers for Democratic Congressional candidate Antonio Delgado had gotten there before him.

And Delgado’s army of volunteers also handed out literature for the two Democratic Milbrook trustee candidates, Kevin McGrane and Tim Collopy, Van De Water told the Otsego and Schoharie Republican county committees at a two-county gathering last week at the Worcester White House Inn.

When the votes were counted that Nov. 4, Delgado had won – and McGrane and Collopy had narrowly surpassed Van De Water. Thanks, Delgado, Van De Water implied.

If Delgado was the shadow candidate against Van De Water in 2018, this year it will be a mano a mano between the two attorneys, as the Republican announced Tuesday, Feb. 18, he will challenge the first-term Democrat for the 19th Congressional District seat, which includes Otsego County, in this year’s Nov. 5 election.

Jim Powers, Butternuts, announced he is running to succeed Assemblyman Cliff Crouch, R-Bainbridge.

With Van De Water’s announcement and that of Jim Powers, Town of Butternuts, former county board chairman, who is running to succeed retiring assembly Clifford Crouch, R-122, almost all voters across Otsego County will have choices in every race on this fall’s ballot, leading off with President Donald Trump and a Democrat to be named.

The exception proving the rule is Assemblyman Chris Tague, R-Schoharie, who locally represents the towns of Cherry Valley, Roseboom, Decatur and Worcester. He stepped back from a run to succeed retiring state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, and so far faces no challenge to his incumbency.  Also, so far a Democrat is lacking to succeed Assemblyman Cliff Crouch in the 122nd.

Another Republican Congressional contender, Ola Hawatmeh of Poughkeepsie, who presented herself as “the Republican Ilhan Omar,” also spoke to the GOP committees at Worcester, but Otsego County Republican Chairman Vince Casale said Van De Water, having lined up county committee supports – “most important, he has his own county committee” – is likely to divert a primary Hawatmeh said she would pursue.
“If these candidates need to spend resources and time in the primary, they aren’t going to have the kind of resources they need to run an effective campaign against Delgado; it’s just not going to happen,” said Casale.

He estimated $2-3 million will be needed to mount an effective challenge, adding, “If a campaign (Van De Water’s) takes off, the money will be easy to raise.”

Delgado hasn’t officially announced he’s seeking another term, but it’s expected he will. In an appearance at the Cooperstown Rotary Club Tuesday, Feb. 18, he ticked off a laundry list of legislation passed in the Democratic House and sent on to the Republican Senate.

Two of Delgado’s bills have even been signed into law by President Trump, he said, achieved by only six Democrats. They include the Family Farm Relief Act, which raises the cap on smaller farms able to reorganize under Bankruptcy Laws from $3 million to $10 million.
He also has high hopes a bill that would organize all federal permitting processes in the same website, making it easier for citizens and businesses to determine what they can and can’t do.

In other races:


Adam Hall, Moravia, is running to succeed Senator Seward, who has endorsed Peter Oberacker, Schenevus, as his successor.

Adam Hall, a young father of four from Moravia, Cayuga County, announced he is running to succeed Senator Seward. A conservative, he’s opposed to the state’s bail-reform regimen and worries about impingement on Second Amendment rights.

He joins a race that includes county Rep. Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, whom Seward is supporting as his successor. Praising the senator’s 34-year tenure, Oberacker, president of FormTech, which does product research for national food companies said he’s applying a maxim from his industry to succeeding Seward: “Find something successful – and copy it.”

Hall planned to run as a Republican, but learned county committees have already gotten behind Oberacker. He may run in a Republican primary regardless, he said.

The Democratic candidate in the race is Jim Barber, a farmer from Schoharie and son of J. Roger Barber, state Ag & Markets commissioner in Gov. Hugh Carey’s administration.


In announcing he’ll run in the 122nd, a four-county district that includes the Otsego towns of Morris, Butternuts and Unadilla, Powers expects to face perhaps a half-dozen contenders in a Republican primary.

He said Crouch is supporting Jim Angelino, a retired Norwich police chief, and that Nick Libous, son of the former state senator from Binghamton, is also running.

But, he said, he’s the only contender who has actually held an elective office. The splintered field may actually help Powers, he reasoned, and said he has a strategy he’s not yet ready to reveal.

A Democrat has not yet surfaced there.

In the two other in-county Assembly district, Dan Buttermann, NYCM adjuster, Oneonta school board member and organizer of Ted-X Oneonta programs, is challenging first-term Republican John Salka of Brookfield, in the 121st, which includes Cooperstown and Oneonta.

In the 101st, incumbent Republican Brian Miller, R-New Hartford, is challenged for a second time by Chad McEvoy of Westford. The narrow district that runs from Utica to Orange County, called “The Catskill Snake,” includes Springfield, Middlefield, Westford and Maryland locally.

Seward Appointed To Panel Leading Lyme-Disease Fight

Seward Appointed To Panel

Leading Lyme-Disease Fight

Senator Seward

ALBANY – State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, has been appointed to the Senate Task Force on Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases, charged with improving prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of these diseases.

“As chair of the Insurance Committee and representative of an area where tick-borne illnesses continue to spread, Senator Seward brings a valuable perspective that will help increase public awareness and prevent Lyme disease,” said Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, who made the appointment. If you’ve noticed an increase of ticks in your garden during the summer, it may be within your best interest to get in touch with a pest control company similar to terminix arizona (if you live in and around this area) to finally get this issue resolved. You don’t want to issue to get worse.

New York State Of Baseball

New York State Of Baseball

The Upstate native who is MLB commissioner and the state senator representing the Baseball Capital of the World shakes hands outside the state Senate this morning.  Commissioner Rob Manfred Jr., a Rome native, was in Albany to receive the Italian American of the Year Award from the state Conference of Italian American State Legislators.  “He is doing great things to grow the game of baseball, and truly deserving of this special honor,” said Otsego County’s senator, Jim Seward.
Seward Named To Panel To Seek Technology Jobs

Seward Named To Panel

To Seek Technology Jobs


ALBANY – State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, has been named to the state Senate Select Committee on Technology and Innovation, aimed at creating jobs in the technology field.

“A recent U.S. Census report showed more than 190,000 people left New York State last year.  We must create new opportunities here at home to stop that exodus and reverse that trend,” said Seward.

Seward Files Petitions To Run For 15th Term

Seward Files Petitions

To Run For 15th Term

State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, yesterday filed nearly 4,000 signatures on nominating petitions for election to a 15th term representing the 51st senatorial district.

“The outpouring of support from the people who live and work throughout my nine-county district is truly gratifying,” said Seward. “I feel privileged to represent the 51st senate district and look forward to continuing to stand up for the issues and concerns that people discuss with me on a daily basis.”

Seward filed 3,099 signatures for the Republican party nomination, 605 for the Independence party nod and 171 for the Conservative party designation.

No Democrat filed petitions by the Thursday deadline, according by Mike Henrici, county Democratic deputy election commissioner, meaning the senator will not face a challenge from major party, although independents can still circulate petitions.


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