By Andrew Harris
The current board of legislators will meet for the last time under Chairman Curt Crandall’s leadership. This will be the final meeting for Dave Decker from District 3, Bill Dibble from District 2, Judy Hopkins from District 1, and Karl Graves from District 4.
In general, the end of the year workload for legislators is to prepare for the next year, or in this case, the next four year session. Read the information that legislators will have on their desks for the meeting here:
Newcomers Kevin Fred Demick and Jennifer Ricketts Swales will replace Crandall and Hopkins in District 1. In District 3, newly elected legislator Gretchen Hanchett will bring her experience in tourism and economic development to the new board, replacing David Decker. Adam Cyr, beat Bill Dibble in both the primary and general election to become the next legislator from District 3. Cyr will be bringing his experience in the construction and business world at a critical time. Longtime Legislator Karl Graves has retired from the legislature and will be the next Town of Wellsville Justice of the Peace. Lawman James Rumfelt, the Andover Chief of Police, won that vacant seat with the largest number of votes in District 4.
It isn’t just the new blood in the legislature that will make Allegany County government a whole different animal in 2022. Phil Stockin, who ironically is the guy who got Curt Crandall into politics, is set to take the gavel from Crandall and become the next Chairman of Allegany County. Stockin, a longtime leader in civics and education hails from Houghton, and was an undisputed choice to become the new leader. You can read his letter of intent published back in July:
Brooke Harris, recently re-elected from District 5, was voted into the position of Vice- Chair by his party in the recent caucus, replacing his fellow legislator Phil Curran in that role. Harris has been the chairman of the budget committee and the 2022 budget reflects his reputation as a fiscal conservative. While the budget crafted by his committee had already included a tax rate cut, Harris pushed hard for an even larger tax break, and that half million dollar effort was a success.
The 2022 board will also realize a major change in political power brokering. District 4 legislator Steven Havey was not just re-elected to his seat but then elected by his Republican peers to become the next Majority Leader. Havey replaces District 3’s Dwight Healy, and had this to say about that new role:
“I am humbled to have so much support among my fellow Legislators. With their ballots they have chosen me to represent them in the coming year as Majority Leader. I am anticipating the extra responsibility and look forward to the challenge. Out-going Majority Leader Healey has set the bar high and I thank him for the stewardship of the position during my first term as Legislator. As we go forward, much of my management style will be apparent and I hope that it complements the efforts of Chairman Stockin and Vice-Chair Harris. Many thanks are in order to my constituents in District 4. Without their faith and support this would not be possible.”
Any way you look at it, Allegany County’s government is turning a new page and the legislature will have their work cut out for them. A massive economic development project is planned, and leaders will also be making decisions about how and where the $9 million dollar American Rescue Fund Act federal funding will be spent. Couple those major financial decisions with the ongoing pandemic in the least vaccinated county in New York State, and this board better be ready to lead.