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Brasher supervisor, councilman say they’ll seek reelection

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BRASHER FALLS - Two veteran members of the Brasher Town Board say they’ll be seeking another four-year term on the board in November.

Town Supervisor M. James Dawson (D-Helena) was first elected in November 1973 and began his first term in January 1974. Republican Councilman William D. Demo, who also serves as the deputy supervisor, was first elected in November 1961 and first took his seat in January 1962. Both men are retired teachers from St. Lawrence Central.

“It looks right now like I’m pretty definite,” Mr. Dawson said. “I had thought about not doing it. But there are too many things in the fire now and I feel good. I think that I’d like to continue that for a bit.”

Among his reasons for running for another term was to see the town’s new highway garage through to completion. The facility will be built using casino gaming compact funds received by the town.

“One of the things I wanted to do was get the garage built without any taxpayer involvement. I guess we’re finally going to get some money for that. It’s a turnkey operation paid for by the agreement between the Mohawks and the state of New York. I’m very thankful for that. It has enabled us to do things we could not possibly do otherwise. We could not afford to do this without those funds,” Mr. Dawson said.

In addition to seeing the highway garage project through to completion, talks have started again on Native American land claims, an issue Mr. Dawson has been involved with for more than three decades. Mr. Demo has also been on the town’s Land Claims Committee for many years, he said.

“The Indian land claim is on the table again. I’ve been with it since 1977. It’s something I’d like to see through to its conclusion,” he said.

However, he stressed, despite his involvement “there is not a land claim in Brasher and we were never named in the lawsuit,” which includes property in Franklin and St. Lawrence counties, the towns of Massena, Bombay, Fort Covington and lands that hold assets of the New York Power Authority, Niagara Mohawk and CSX Rail.

“They are all named in the suit,” Mr. Dawson said.

It’s issues like those, he said, that prompted him to seek another term.

“That was something I had to consider when I was talking about reelection. There are many people who could do an equal or better job, but they would need to come up to speed quickly on a situation that may be imminent,” he said.

Mr. Dawson said, as the workload increases, he’s ready to devote more time to the position.

“The job has gotten very demanding now. I spend a lot of time here at the office. We’re open here four days a week, all day long. It’s gotten to be a very time-consuming job,” he said.

Mr. Demo said he was encouraged to run for another term.

“A lot of people encouraged me to do it,” he said.

Like Mr. Dawson, the veteran councilman said he wants to see the construction of a new highway garage.

“It’s been a number of years. The old one was put up a year before I went into office,” Mr. Demo said.

He said he enjoys his role as councilman, enabling him to meet others in the community and address their concerns.

“I’m available. I’ve been interested all these years in the progress of our community. I like staying involved and working to promote the community. I can speak to various people at all levels,” Mr. Demo said.

Other Brasher positions that will be on the November ballot are town clerk, currently held by Ellen Fukes; superintendent of highways, currently held by Larry Hewlett; town justice, currently held by Jeremiah Mahoney; and a second council seat, currently held by Margaret Burns.

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