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West Leyden man taking second shot at Lewis legislative seat

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WEST LEYDEN — A West Leyden man is taking a second crack at the District 10 seat on the Lewis County Legislature.

“I’ve always kind of been involved in the community,” said Republican John A. Healt, an account executive at Lodging Kit Co. in Boonville. “It’s just making the place I live better.”

Mr. Healt will face off in a GOP primary against Legislator Jerry H. King, R-West Leyden, a general contractor who is seeking a fifth two-year term as legislative representative for residents in the towns of Leyden and Lewis. The challenger already has secured the Independence Party line, while Mr. King will hold the Conservative line.

Four years ago, Mr. Healt, who also previously has worked at an auto parts store and operated redemption centers in Boonville and Thendara, ran unsuccessfully against Mr. King as an independent candidate, losing by a vote of 438-200.

Mr. Healt is hopeful that getting an earlier start and holding major party lines will make a difference this time around.

He said he decided not to run for legislator a couple of years ago because his wife was pregnant at the time. He said he feels compelled to do so now, particularly after reading about county spending and lack of town support for some county initiatives.

“It just seemed like a good time,” he said.

Mr. Healt said he has no issues with Mr. King, a neighbor, but felt he could bring a new perspective to the position and serve as a facilitator, as he has on other boards. “I like to think I can do that,” he said.

Mr. Healt said his main platform is once again fiscal responsibility and accountability for government spending.

“Even though our economy is supposed to be on the rebound, we have challenges to overcome,” he said.

The candidate said that while tourism is a good supplement to the local economy, leaders should be cognizant that agriculture is still the county’s economic cornerstone. “You’ve got to depend on people who are here year-round,” he said.

Mr. Healt said he is also a “big proponent of long-term planning,” adding that it was unfortunate the county’s space needs weren’t addressed fully by construction of a new courthouse several years ago.

The Boonville native served as a trustee for that village for eight years — beginning in 1994 at age 22 — before getting married and moving across the county line. He also was appointed deputy mayor for his last four years on the Boonville board.

Mr. Healt also served on the Adirondack Central School District board for three years before recently stepping down, as a board member of the Boonville Housing Authority from 1994 to 2009 and as president of the Boonville Area Chamber of Commerce from 1998 to 2000. He has been a member of the Knights of Columbus Council 2195 since 1998.

Mr. Healt’s wife, Kristin, is acting principal at West Leyden Elementary School and previously taught at the now-closed St. Peter’s Catholic School in Lowville. The Healts have three young children, Jacob, Olivia and Alina.

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