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Senator allegedly refuses job offer

TIMES ALBANY CORRESPONDENT
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ALBANY — A north country state senator has apparently opted to stand for re-election rather than accept an offer to run a state authority.


Reliable sources say Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine, D-Cape Vincent, was offered and turned down the chairmanship of the New York Power Authority.


Neither Mr. Aubertine nor a spokesman from the governor's office returned phone calls seeking comment by Friday evening.


Aubertine spokesman Andrew Mangione would not comment on the report.


Another name that surfaced as a possible chairman for the Power Authority is Richard M. Kessel, former chairman of the Long Island Power Authority. Reaction across the state to that prospect has been largely negative.


NYPA is the largest state-owned energy authority in the country, according to its Web site. It operates 18 generating plants and more than 1,400 miles of transmission lines throughout New York. The authority sells power to government agencies, community-owned power systems, rural electric co-ops and private utilities for nonprofit resale, as well as to neighboring states.


In February, Mr. Aubertine defeated Assemblyman William A. Barclay, R-Pulaski, in a hotly contested special election for the 48th Senate District seat vacated by Sen. James W. Wright, R-Watertown. With the victory, Mr. Aubertine became the first Democrat since 1880 to represent Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties in the state Senate.


A move to NYPA would have cost Mr. Aubertine his Senate seat at a time when Democrats are pushing hard to take control of that body from Republicans who hold a slight 32-30 majority.


Mr. Aubertine began his political career in 1994 when he was elected to the Cape Vincent Town Council. He moved to the Jefferson County Legislature in 1996; he chaired the body during the second of his three two-year terms.


In 2002, Mr. Aubertine was elected to the Assembly, representing the 118th district, commonly called the "river district." This marked the first time a Democrat had represented St. Lawrence County in the Assembly since 1970 and the first time since 1910 for Jefferson County.


The entire membership of both the 150-seat Assembly and the 62-seat Senate is up for election in November.

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