Should Lentz take District 5, it will be a jolt to the Republicans, as the district’s most populous community, Milford, is the home of state Sen. James Seward, the region’s highest-ranking and longest-serving Republican elected official.
Another contest being closely watched by political insiders features the matchup between first-term Rep. John Kosmer, D-Fly Creek, and Rick Hulse Jr., the GOP candidate and a veteran businessman. Kosmer, one of the original members of the anti-fracking group Sustainable Otsego, remains an ardent opponent of shale gas drilling. Hulse said he also opposes drilling within Otsego County but argued that issue’s importance has waned because of the passage of numerous home-rule measures banning the industry.
Kosmer accused Republicans of pushing an “outdated” agenda that includes trying to lure manufacturing jobs back to Otsego County, pointing out that such local successful businesses as Brewery Ommegang in Middlefield and Chobani yogurt in Chenango County are not complaining about the business environment in upstate New York.
“They want to bring in this 20th century notion of manufacturing to Otsego County, while we’re going headlong into the 21st century,” Kosmer said. “The new businesses that are going to succeed are going to do so because they make great products.”
Hulse said county government is now mired in “reactive thinking” and needs to adopt the kind of management practices that help businesses succeed.
“If we keep doing the same things we have been doing and expect a different outcome, that is the definition of insanity,” Hulse said.
He said he is open to the idea of creating a new position of county manager — a proposal long advocated by Democrats on the board — but suggested there should be a reduction in the Board of Representatives to help pay for the position. He also said before a manager is hired there should be determination that county residents support taking that step.