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Gray seeking second term as Massena town supervisor

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MASSENA - Massena Town Supervisor Joseph D. Gray confirmed expectations that he will be seeking a second term in a release he issued Tuesday morning..

Mr. Gray called his first term “challenging, frustrating at times, but still enjoyable. He said he’s running for a second term to continue working on “important issues for Massena’s future and to change the way local government does business.”

“These are trying times in local government,” he said. “Too many politicians in Albany and Washington spend their time in office bickering with the other party and promoting personal agendas. As a result, more and more demands are placed on local governments.”

And unfortunately, Mr. Gray said, those additional demands don’t come with additional funding.

“Sadly, no money comes along with these mandates. State pension costs are out of control, some public employees feel they are entitled to more than what workers in the private sector receive, and local officials juggle the public’s demands for services with the continual complaint that taxes are too high,” he said.

Should Mr. Gray be re-elected, he said he’s looking forward to tackling the 10-year review of the New York Power Authority’s licensing agreement and Mohawk land claims, as well as working to improve Massena’s economy and promoting what the township has to offer.

And along those lines, Mr. Gray said he has found success with things like FISHCAP.

“I think we stumbled on something significant with FISHCAP. We have amazing natural resources that many of us have taken for granted all these years,” he said. “When I held a meeting back in 2010 to talk about fishing, I was shocked that over 40 people showed up on a stormy February evening.”

Some of those attendees traveled for more than two hours to attend the initial meeting for what would eventually become FISHCAP.

“We can’t stop there,” he said. “We have to work harder to find different ways to grow our economy. We need to get more inventive to create jobs. We must find companies who can come to Massena to use our low-cost electricity and manufacture products with Alcoa’s aluminum.”

Mr. Gray also said that he is looking forward to hearing what members of the public have to say about his tenure as supervisor thus far, noting he is currently planning on creating a website for his campaign, as well as a Facebook page.

“I want to know what people think of some of my ideas and the work I’ve done so far,” he said. “I want to hear their ideas and plans for our future. My door and ears are always open.”

Although many politicians or people in public life shy away from criticism, Mr. Gray said that’s not his style.

“Even if people don’t agree with me or like that I do, I still want to hear from them,” he said. “The most important thing is we all keep Massena’s best interests at heart.”

When asked why he decided to run for re-election, Mr. Gray said, “I’m enjoying the job for the most part.”

He also cited his diverse work experience as something he thinks can be beneficial to the town in the years ahead.

“There are some issues that I feel like I can contribute to,” he said. “I have some interesting background experience, having worked for the tribe for five-and-a-half years and having attended land claim meetings on their behalf.”

Mr. Gray said he then worked for the state Senate “and learned a lot about how the state government and how different things work.” “I’m fortunate that I have a varied professional background that lends itself to this job.”

Mr. Gray also said he’s wants to see how the hospital’s current financial issues are resolved.

“I’m anxious to see how this hospital thing works out,” he said. “No one knows yet.”

When asked if there was anything he would have done different over the past four years, Mr. Gray said there might be some little things, but nothing that was immediately jumping out at him.

“I certainly haven’t been perfect, but there isn’t anything serious that I would take back,” he said. “I’ve always tried to do a little research before I make my decisions.”

Massena Republican Party Chair Charlie B. Romigh said he was pleased to hear about Mr. Gray’s announcement.

“Over the past four years I think Joe has represented not only the Republican party, but the community quite well and that’s the important thing.”

Mr. Romigh said he also thinks Mr. Gray has done “an above average job” working with the other members of the town board, all of whom are Democrats. Mr. Gray is a Republican.

“Like everything there have been a few instances when he has taken heat for some comments or actions. Some instances were justified and others I believe were undeserved.”

In order to formally earn the party’s nomination, Mr. Gray must first win the nomination at the Republican Party caucus.

Mr. Romigh said he’s not sure when the caucus will be held, be he anticipates it will be later this month. When asked if he is anticipating another Republican stepping up to challenge Mr. Gray at the caucus, he said he didn’t think there would be.

“I would be more interested to see who, if anyone is going to challenge him from the Democratic Party,” Mr. Romigh said. “I only speak for myself and the Republican Party, but I think we’re very pleased with the job he has done. More importantly I think we’ll find out that the people are pleased with the job he’s done too.”

Attempts to reach Massena Democratic Party Chair Courtney Deshaies were unsuccessful Tuesday afternoon.

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