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St. Lawrence County Legislator MacKinnon will step down

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CANTON — The most senior member of the St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators will not seek re-election in the fall.

“It’s been 21 years. I think it’s time,” Legislator Alex A. MacKinnon, R-Fowler, said. “I think I’ve had a good run of it. It’s time to move over and do something different.”

A former legislative chairman, Mr. MacKinnon, 68, was involved in the downsizing of the board to 15 members, the dissolution of the Solid Waste Disposal Authority, the reorganization of the county committee system, the building of the 911 emergency center, the jail, and the Canton Human Services building.

“The biggest issue was probably the jail, whether it should be constructed or not,” Mr. MacKinnon said. “I would rather have had the 200 cells but we compromised. The jail can be enlarged with at least two more pods.”

Mr. MacKinnon said several people, who he declined to identify, are interested in replacing him on the board.

“I’m going to let them decide,” he said. “All I’ll say is that some people have inquired.”

In his retirement from politics, Mr. MacKinnon, a former dairy farmer, said he plans to spend more time with his grandchildren and “tinker around” as a broker with Lacy Real Estate.

Mr. MacKinnon has been a fixture on either the Gouverneur Central School Board or the Board of Legislators since he moved to St. Lawrence County from New Jersey in 1972 to farm with his wife, Nancy, and brother-in-law, Bill Siebels.

“We came up here because this was where we could find land we could afford,” Mr. MacKinnon said.

A graduate of Trenton State College, Mr. MacKinnon was a teacher of architectural drafting and technology for children before becoming interested in dairy farming.

His educational background came in handy when he ran for the school board in the 1970s.

He left the school board when he decided to run for a seat vacated by Legislator Stanley A. Morrill, the father of Legislator Frederick S. Morrill, D-DeKalb Junction. Stanley Morrill later returned to the board but district lines had changed, allowing him and Mr. MacKinnon to serve at the same time.

“All the people that were there were great people although I didn’t always think they were on the right side,” Mr. MacKinnon said. “You always try to get along if you can.”

Sallie A. Brothers, a former Democratic legislator who had served the longest with Mr. MacKinnon before she retired from the board last year, said he was all anyone could ask for in a lawmaker.

“He does his homework. He thinks and you can talk to him,” she said. “Although we were on different sides of the aisle, we were of that generation that thinks alike and understands the value of public service.”

The Democrats were in control when Mr. MacKinnon first took office but the GOP later ran the board for three terms before the Democrats regained control as the great recession took hold.

“That’s when things turned south, I say,” Mr. MacKinnon said. “Some of that might have been because the whole world went south but I like to blame it on the Democrats.”

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