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Burke running against Clark in St. Lawrence County District 12 race

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NORFOLK — John H. Burke, a retired nurse administrator, is running on the Republican line for the St. Lawrence County Legislature District 12 seat held by Democrat Jason A. Clark.

“I think the big reason I’m running is to help restore the fiscal order of the county,” Mr. Burke said. “We owe it to the taxpayers, the people who receive services and county employees to have our finances in line.”

Mr. Burke, a registered nurse, worked for more than 30 years at the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center, Ogdensburg, and retired in 2006 as director of inpatient services at Greater Binghamton Health Center. After serving on the task force to save the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center, he decided he wanted to stay involved in the political process.

Mr. Clark, a consultant and former director of the Business Development Corporation for a Greater Massena, was chosen by an ad hoc committee of fellow Democrats and appointed by the Board of Legislators in September as the replacement for Sallie A. Brothers, who resigned for health reasons.

As an outsider to the Legislature, Mr. Burke said, he is basing his assessment of county operations on a 2013 state comptroller’s report that noted the county had burned through its cash reserves and needed to develop a long-range plan.

“I would strongly encourage some long-term planning so we’re not in a state of chronic crisis management,” Mr. Burke said.

County employees should not have to worry from year to year whether they will have a job, he said.

“Probably the first order needs to be somewhat of a culture change,” Mr. Burke said.

Most of the votes in the Legislature fall along party lines, partisanship he would like to see change.

“You exclude a lot of valuable input. It should be a team, not two factions,” he said. “I would encourage some active listening on both sides.”

Mr. Burke believes his years in health care and its administration, talking with patients, managing staff and supervising business operations would serve him well as a legislator.

MEET THE CANDIDATE
Republican John H. Burke is challenging Democratic incumbent Jason A. Clark for the District 12 St. Lawrence County Legislature seat.
• Age: 63
• Education: 1968 graduate of Canton Central School; 1972 graduate of the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center School of Nursing
• Employment: Worked at the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center for more than 30 years. Retired in 2006 as director of inpatient services at Greater Binghamton Health Center
• Party: Republican
• Political History: Appointed to Norfolk Board of Assessment Review
• Family: His first wife, Eleanor M., died. His wife is Jan. L. Children are Ronald P., 43; Eric S., 40; Mark W., 38, and Angela M., 33
• Address: 424 Lacomb Road, Norfolk
• Place of Birth: Potsdam
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