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Lewis legislators expected to appoint Brennan to vacant seat

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DEER RIVER — Lewis County legislators today are expected to appoint Craig P. Brennan to fill the vacant District 3 seat.

“We realize the importance of having somebody representing the town of Denmark,” said Legislature Chairman Michael A. Tabolt, R-Croghan. “In this case, it’s the only person left on the ballot.”

Mr. Brennan, a retired state police investigator and businessman, effectively would replace the late Legislator Charles R. Fanning, R-Copenhagen, who died in office in July.

The Deer River Republican earlier this month defeated Gerald S. Snyder, Mr. Fanning’s nephew by marriage, in a GOP primary, effectively knocking Mr. Snyder off the November ballot and leaving himself as the lone remaining candidate.

Mr. Tabolt said he and his fellow lawmakers had chosen not to fill the spot on the board as long as there was a contested election.

“We let the election process go forward,” he said.

While a write-in challenge still could be possible, the chairman said most lawmakers now feel comfortable bringing in Mr. Brennan for a few months of on-the-job training, rather than forcing him to wait until January, so he has a greater chance to familiarize himself with day-to-day operations of the county.

Mr. Brennan already has started coming to legislative sessions, including spending the whole day Wednesday in committee sessions, Mr. Tabolt said.

Mr. Brennan should help cover for Mr. Fanning’s old committee assignments and, hopefully, offer some insight on “all these important decisions coming up,” Mr. Tabolt said.

The late Copenhagen legislator chaired the Transportation and Solid Waste Committee and served on the Taxation and Economic Development committees.

“I thank all my constituents in District 3,” Mr. Brennan said. “I owe this honor to them.”

He said the early appointment, if forthcoming, should make for a smoother transition in January, when at least six of the 10 legislative seats will be filled by newcomers.

“I’m hoping to understand the culture,” Mr. Brennan said.

He said he will work diligently to get up to speed on current issues and follow through on a campaign platform of open government and opposing frivolous spending of taxpayer dollars.

“I suspect that if I’m a legislator for eight years, I’ll still be learning,” Mr. Brennan said. “And that doesn’t mean I’m a slow learner.”

The current District 3 makes up the entire town of Denmark. However, because of redistricting, the district next year will encompass most of Denmark, except for the Castorland area, along with the northern part of the town of Lowville.

Mr. Brennan spent a combined 25 years with the West Carthage Police Department and state police, including nine years as an investigator, until his retirement in 2001.

He then worked as general manager of T.F. Wright & Sons Granite Foundry, Carthage, for three years before returning to his roots with a three-year stint as administrator of the Metro-Jefferson Drug Task Force through the Jefferson County district attorney’s office.

Despite being the only candidate on the ballot for the legislative seat, Mr. Brennan said he is continuing to solicit support from district residents to help ensure success in the November general election.

“It’s still important that they get out to vote,” he said.

Mr. Tabolt, who is running unopposed for a new two-year term, said he has been happy to see other candidates in attendance at recent legislative sessions and is hopeful that, following the November election, legislators-elect will take such opportunities to help jump-start their official tenures on the board.

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