The Otsego County Democratic Committee has found a candidate to oppose county Board of Representatives Chairwoman Kathleen Clark, R-Otego — and he’s a Republican, at least for now.
Stuart Anderson, a 59-year-old retired state worker from Otego and activist in the local movement against shale gas drilling, confirmed Tuesday that he will run against Clark this year, and will be changing his party registration to Democratic.
“The county is really the front line of government,” Anderson said. “They’re the ones that actually do the work. The state creates, and the counties carry it out.”
While he took no direct shots at Clark, Anderson said, “She’s been doing it for several terms, and I have just felt that the county board has been representing certain parts of our electorate and not really representing other parts. I’m just looking to change things around so we get a little more effective representation.”
In addition to being active in the push to have the town of Otego enact a ban on hydrofracking, Anderson has also been a critic of the proposed Constitution Pipeline. The pipeline, if the current proposed pathway is approved by federal regulators, would come close to Otsego County but would not enter it. Anderson said he thinks that if the project is constructed it would invite gas drillers to the region.
Clark has supported the pipeline, saying it could be a source of natural gas for school districts, businesses and institutions and bring new jobs to the region.
Clark has represented District 3 — which includes the towns of Otego and Laurens — since January 2008. She gained the board seat in November 2007, when she defeated board Vice Chairman Ronald Feldstein, a Democrat. Clark became the first woman to lead the Otsego County board in January 2012,
She did not return a telephone message seeking comment.