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Republican Travis Dann challenges Legislator Peck in Gouverneur

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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 it’s time for a change,” Mr. Dann said. “I think there’s 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. Peck’s 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.

“I’m not running against Donny,” he said. “I’m running for the people. I think the taxpayers need a break.”

Mr. Dann’s 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 don’t need more midnight legislation like the SAFE Act,” he said. “There needs to be more dialogue than dictatorship. I’m willing to stand up to whoever is in the way of progress.”

Mr. Dann said he was troubled by the Legislature’s 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 Sheriff’s Department, and streamlining others.

“I’m 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.

MEET THE CANDIDATE
Here’s a closer look at the retired state trooper who is challenging St. Lawrence County Legislator Donald A. Peck, D-Gouverneur, in November.
Travis E. Dann n Age: 47 n Education: Phoenix Central School graduate; three years at SUNY Geneseo; graduate of the New York State Police Academy in 1989. n Employment History: retired state trooper; part-time private eye with McKee Associates, Malone. n Party Affiliation: Republican n Political History: none nFamily: wife Maria V. Dann; children, Daniel A. Bassett, 35, Melissa A. Devereaux, 28, Frank W. Bassett, 21, Sawyer J. Dann, 21, Charles L. Dann, 16. nPlace of residence: 2075 Route 11, Gouverneur. nBirthplace: Syracuse
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