2017 – now, that was a year for local democracy.
Twelve of the 14 seats on the Otsego County Board of Representatives were contested – only Gary Koutnik in Democratic Oneonta and Dan Wilber in Republican Town of Burlington got a pass.
This year, regrettably, there are three, but one race calls out for an endorsement:
Michele Farwell, the Democrat running for reelection in District 2 (Morris, Butternuts and Pittsfield).
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By noon Monday, 10/28
Every county board has top performers, the most influential, the reps who make things happen.
Currently, that would include the peace-making chairman, David Bliss, plus Meg Kennedy, Peter Oberacker, Andrew Marietta and perhaps Ed Frazier. When they speak, things happen.
Others, certainly, may have a slightly different list.
A good case can be made to include Michele Farwell in that select group for one initiative alone: She suggested the county board join a lawsuit against Big Pharma to try to reclaim some of the costs of fighting the heroin epidemic.
Now, it seems likely the county’s claim will be recognized.
Just a freshman, she also is co-chairing the county Energy Task Force with Kennedy. Energy is a divisive issue. It’s unclear if a consensus can be reached. But both Kennedy and Farwell have shown restraint and consideration in navigating a ship in rough waters.
Like the best of the reps, she doesn’t speak a lot (or too little.) But when she speaks, she’s worth listening do.
Farwell is being challenged by an independent, Marcia Hoag, who should be saluted for running in a year when so few have stepped forward. But Farwell has earned reelection.
In the two other contested races:
• District 3 (Otego-Laurens), Republican Rick Brockway is amiable and approachable, the kind of legislator that every elected body requires. He knows
the territory, and he knows his would-be constituents. Vote for Brockway.
• District 14 (Oneonta’s Wards 7-8), Jill Basile, has the edge against Wilson Wells, a Libertarian and engaging young man. As the Democratic nominee in the Democratic city, Basile has appropriately attended the past several county board meetings to prepare herself for the job she will probably hold.