GOUVERNEUR St. Lawrence County Legislator Donald A. Peck, who last year switched his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat, will face an election challenge from Republican Travis E. Dann, a retired state trooper.
I think its time for a change, Mr. Dann said. I think theres a great deal of waste.
Mr. Peck, an auctioneer, has had a number of personal financial troubles, including nonpayment of sales tax. In 2012, the state Department of Taxation and Finance seized Mr. Pecks business and personal bank accounts on warrants for nonpayment of sales tax from the 1990s. Last year, the state filed judgments of more than $50,000 for additional nonpayment of sales tax in more recent years.
However, Mr. Dann said his decision to run in District 5 has nothing to do with the troubles of Mr. Peck, whom he knows as a fellow member of the Kiwanis Club.
Im not running against Donny, he said. Im running for the people. I think the taxpayers need a break.
Mr. Danns mother, Kathleen Prosper Dann, is from Massena. He worked 23 years as a state trooper, serving in Carthage, Lowville and Tupper Lake before spending the last 15 years of his career in Gouverneur. He retired in 2011 as sergeant station commander.
He is president of the Kiwanis Club and a volunteer assistant varsity football coach at Gouverneur Central School and serves on several committees of the Methodist Church.
Mr. Dann said he believes the Board of Legislators, with its Democratic majority, is too beholden to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and unwilling to stand up to Albany dictates.
People dont need more midnight legislation like the SAFE Act, he said. There needs to be more dialogue than dictatorship. Im willing to stand up to whoever is in the way of progress.
Mr. Dann said he was troubled by the Legislatures years of spending down a surplus of more than $20 million. He would look at the distribution of budget cuts the board has made, building up some departments, such as the Sheriffs Department, and streamlining others.
Im not sure all the departments have been cut, he said. I would look everywhere to cut.
Mr. Dann said he also thought the work of the board needed more public exposure.
I think a lot of it is done behind closed doors, he said.