By Joe Mahoney Staff Writer
The Daily Star
---- — COOPERSTOWN — With Otsego County Democrats planning a vigorous charge to wrest control of county government from the GOP, the Otsego County Republican Committee has lined up a hard-nosed competitor of its own — Oneonta Town Board Member William Mirabito of the town of Oneonta — to serve as its vice chairman.
Mirabito, 53, said he plans to use his experience as a local businessman to help the county GOP organization with fundraising.
“The main thing is I wanted to get a little more Oneonta influence on the county Republican committee,” he said in an interview Tuesday. “I think I can connect with folks who would support the party. That’s why I’m getting involved.”
He said he does not want to cede any part of the county to the Democratic Party, even the city of Oneonta, long a bastion for the Democrats and a place where GOP hopefuls have been routinely dispatched as sacrificial lambs.
“I think you are going to see a little bit of a comeback for us in the city,” said Mirabito.
The Democratic Party picked up two competitive districts on the county’s Board of Representatives two years ago, with Rep. John Kosmer, D-Fly Creek, defeating incumbent Jim Johnson, R-Fly Creek, and Rep. Beth Rosenthal, D-Roseboom, defeating GOP challenger Ray Holohan of Middlefield.
That left the county board with seven Democrats and seven Republicans, though the GOP still holds a majority of weighted votes.
In the coming election, the GOP has yet to field a challenger against Kosmer, an anti-fracking activist. The Republicans have settled on a candidate against Rosenthal in the person of Bill Glockler of Middlefield, who has been active in organizing opposition to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s controversial new gun control law.
County GOP Chairwoman Sheila Ross said she is pleased that Mirabito, a long-time Republican committeeman, is moving up to the vice chairman slot.
“He will be an asset to the committee,” she said.
Mirabito has been an unapologetic supporter of natural gas drilling
“We’ve got to start saying what we’re for,” he said. “It’s easy to say what we’re against. This pitting neighbor against neighbor is not good for our community.”
He also said voters prefer candidates who are conversant with a wide range of issues, and do not package themselves as motivated by “single issues.”
Too often, he said, talented young people have had to move out of the region because of the lack of employment opportunities, a situation that candidates for public office should be called on to address because it has affected so many local families.
“We need to have quality candidates, establish our platform, and communicating that to the public is what our job is,” he said.