By Joe Mahoney Staff Writer
The Daily Star
---- — With two challengers seeking his seat in Albany, Assemblyman Bill Magee, D-Nelson, said Wednesday he will work hard this year to convince voters that he deserves another term as their representative in the state Legislature.
“I’ve had a good record of working with my colleagues from both sides of the aisle,” Magee said in an interview. “They respect me and respect the work that I’ve done as chairman of the Agriculture Committee.”
Magee has withstood challenges from Republican opponents in the past. But this year he will for the first time face a Democratic primary, if challenger Michael Hennessy, a stockbroker and former Oneida County legislator, qualifies to get on the ballot.
In recent days, Brookfield Town Supervisor John Salka, a Republican, also tossed his hat in the ring for the same seat.
Both Salka and Hennessy have contended that voters are ready for change in the seat that Magee, now 74, has held since 1991.
But Magee said he has no plans to retire. Asked if he is confident about his chances of surviving the challenges, Magee said: “You never know. You’ve always got to be concerned. Hopefully, the people will send me back for another term.”
Magee offered no criticisms of his opponents. Instead, he discussed his own qualifications for the job, which pays $79,500 annually, with a stipend added for serving in a committee leadership position.
“We work hard at constituent service,” Magee said. “When people need help, I’ve never made a big deal of party affiliation. We always get back to people and try to help them.”
The district includes most of Otsego County — including the city and town of Oneonta, as well as Cooperstown, Richfield Springs, Milford, Edmeston, Springfield, Morris and several other towns — all of Madison County and a portion of Oneida County.
Magee said he has framed no plans for retirement.
“As long as I feel I can do the job, I’d like to keep doing it,” he said. “I’m going to run for re-election on my record.”