State Sen. James L. Seward, R-Milford, will have a challenger in next year's election in New York's 51st district as Middleburgh farmer Jim Barber, a Democrat, announced in a media release Monday, Dec. 2, he will try to keep Seward from a ninth term.
The election is Tuesday, Nov. 3. The 51st district includes all of Cortland, Otsego and Schoharie counties as well as parts of Cayuga, Chenango, Delaware, Herkimer, Tompkins and Ulster counties.
Barber's family has owned a farm in the Schoharie Valley for five generations, according to the release.
"For generations, my family has been proud to live in this region, to run our family farm and to invest in our communities,” Barber said in the media release. “I am going to bring that work ethic, love of community and ability to get results to Albany as this region’s next State Senator. Over the coming months, I look forward to discussing important issues with residents and small business owners throughout the 51st Senate District and earning their support for my State Senate campaign.”
According to the media release, the family founded Barber’s Farm in 1857, and Barber's children would be the sixth generation to continue the homestead farm. He said he wants to ensure they, and all small farmers in the region, continue to have a chance to exist and compete in the marketplace.
Barber's public service experience includes seven years as the New York state executive director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency and two years in the state Department of Agriculture and Markets as special assistant to the commissioner.
Barber is the first challenger to Seward, who announced last month he intends to run for re-election despite the recurrence of cancer in his bladder. Seward, 68, first underwent treatment for the cancer in 2016, missing about 10 weeks of work during his recovery. According to a Nov. 6 media release, Seward is undergoing treatment again this fall, and plans to return to Albany for the new session in January. He was first elected to the State Senate in 1986.