Hillary's Seat: If We Were Speaking Locally
Now that the almost inevitable selection of Hillary Clinton to be Secretary of State is official, the already drawn out speculation of who will fill her seat is in full swing and will no doubt dominate news coverage for the next few weeks. I was thinking today though, what if Governor Paterson had to choose from Genesee County, seeing how close the Democorats are to having a 60 vote majority, the likelihood of him picking a Republican is slim....so popular Republican Assemblyman Steve Hawley, or really any other known Republican would be out of the question.
In this fun hyothetical, or shall I say, localthetical, who would Governor Paterson pick if he had to choose from Genesee County leaders?
Obviously, in terms of name recognition he would start with major Government leaders, so number 1 on the list would probably be Batavia City Council President Charlie Mallow. Love the guy or hate him (personally I like the guy), he brought the City into the black, worked across the aisle to bring proposed tax increases far down from their original expectations and was the leader of two tickets that led to Democratic control of the City Council, he's also shown that he has the fundraising ability to help large scale fundraising efforts in Batavia and county wide.
Perhaps Paterson would also consider the straight-shooting Rosemary Christian, with her reputation as a fighter and her popularity with the local ethnic communities, she wouldn't back down to Republican pressure in the US Senate. Paterson also might be credited for picking a 'maverick' , who sincerley votes with her conciense and puts the interests of working people first.
The level headed Kathy Briggs may also play a factor in Paterson's mind, she also has shown that she can work well across the aisle and still stands up for what she believes in, her background as a teacher may also be a major bonus, Briggs also has good relations with the local Conservative party, and could possibly pull their support.
Ed DeJanerio would also be given obvious consideration, he's defined himself locally as a scrappy campaigner who doesn't just beat his opponents, he gives them an electoral thrashing through careful and positive messaging and by hitting every single house in his district. Ed is a careful and moderate leader in the County Legislature who focuses on constituant services.
Batavia School Board President Pat Burk would cleary be the "education" choice, he's been working with education on the board before I was even a thought in anyone's minds he's lead the district through thick and then and has brought Batavia into respectability state wide, especially with Batavia High School being such a high-performing school. His selection would also be a bonus because of his work with the State School Boards Association, Burk could act as a representative on education on behalf of President Obama statewide.
Paterson could also pull a triple whammy by selecting School Board Member Gary Stich, the current President and CEO of Oxbow corporation, thus adding private sector bonfidias along with an obvious interest in education with the know-how and connections to turn around the upstate economy, I'm not entirely sure of his partisan affiliation, so obviously some agreement with him caucusing with the Democrats would have to be worked out (if he isn't already one).
Maybe Paterson would reach into LeRoy for his selection, former party Chair Ray Yaccuzo has been active in environmental issues and has been a community leader outside of politics for most of his life, in addition he has valuable executive experience being the former mayor of LeRoy.
Speaking of former LeRoy mayors, Jim Delooze would also recieve close attention, he also has good relations with the local Conservative party and really put his heart and soul into Leroy. Despite his defeat in his last election, it appears that his careful budgeting and smart governing left LeRoy in a pretty good position, and with his energetic campaign style he certainly would be an asset to the Democrats.
There's also possible picks from the surronding towns, such as Barb Kapperman, a former candidate for County Treasurer and who has had much experience working with Government finance, can you say budget balancer?
Now we go back to the reality of Governor Paterson's possible picks, Andrew Cuomo, Brian Higgins, Byron Brown, Nydia Valesquez and Steve Israel, all great possible picks without a question....but just think of all the great choices Governor Paterson would have if he was limited to Genesee County.