SARANAC LAKE - Franklin County Legislator Tim Burpoe, D-Saranac Lake, announced Friday he won't run for re-election and endorsed village Trustee Barbara Rice for the position instead.
Burpoe decided to step down after serving three terms representing the towns of Harrietstown and Franklin, the county's District 7, on the county Board of Legislators.
Burpoe said lawmakers get too involved and don't have the same insights when they're in the same office for too long.
Franklin County Legislator Tim Burpoe announced he won’t run for re-election this fall and endorses Saranac Lake village Trustee Barbara Rice for his seat Friday morning on the steps of the Harrietstown Town Hall.
(Enterprise photo — Jessica Collier)
"I think that nine years is a long time to serve and continue to have the same energy and fresh perspective that makes a legislator effective," Burpoe said. "I'm a 'term limit' guy and I believe, for that reason, there should be a change to our elected leaders, if not by the electorate then by legislation."
He said he did his best as a legislator and tried to be a clear and fair voice for all the people of the county.
Burpoe said he isn't retiring, he's just stepping aside to concentrate on his professional duties as a forester and land manager. He said he's reserving the right to run again in the future if he doesn't believe the district is getting the representation it deserves.
He introduced Rice, who co-owns Rice Furniture, as a candidate who is interested in gaining the Democratic nomination for the seat.
Rice thanked Burpoe for the endorsement, and for his service to the county.
"He's done a great job," she said.
She said she's confident she can continue the positive and effective work Burpoe has been doing at the county level. She said she plans to bring to Malone sound business experience, an ability to reach consensus, and a commitment to and understanding of the local community.
Rice said she looks forward to educating herself about the issues affecting the county.
Rice is in the second year of her first four-year term on the Saranac Lake village board. She said she enjoys that post and intends to remain there if she is elected to the county board.
"I made that commitment, and I take that very seriously," Rice told the Enterprise.
She said she believes her work at the county level would enhance what she's doing at the village level, and vice versa. She said she's got a very supportive and encouraging family and business partners, and if anything would suffer due to her multiple commitments, it would be her personal life.
Rice noted that there has been some precedent with village representatives serving on the county board. County board Chairman Billy Jones was mayor of Chateaugay when he was first elected, and Paul Maroun was elected Tupper Lake village mayor when he was already serving on the county board.
Maroun is up for election for both positions this fall. Reached by phone today, he said he has decided about whether to run in both races, but he said it's too early to talk about it yet.
Local Republican leader Ray Scollin said in a phone interview that the town Republican committee has not officially endorsed a candidate for the position yet.
Former Supreme Court Judge Jan Plumadore had expressed interest in the seat and contacted several party leaders about it, Scollin said. Plumadore spent about two weeks exploring the option, but he decided early last week that it would be too taxing to attend the necessary county meetings for a legislator, since he lives part-time in Florida.
"We are about to place an ad," Scollin said. "We have put the word out that we are looking for applicants."
Ed Randig, Harrietstown town code enforcement officer, has submitted a letter of interest, and Scollin said the party is happy Randig is considering a run.
Contact Jessica Collier at 891-2600 ext. 26 or firstname.lastname@example.org.