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Ogdensburg Republican will challenge St. Lawrence County Legislator Vernon D. Burns

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OGDENSBURG — Certified public accountant Donald J. Hooper, a Republican, will challenge St. Lawrence County Democratic Legislator Vernon D. “Sam” Burns for the District 1 seat this fall.

“I’m running because I think our county is in bad financial trouble and I think I can bring something to the table,” said Mr. Hooper, a partner in the Pinto, Mucenski, Hooper, Van House & Co. firm. “I think there has to be a better way than spending the fund balance.”

Mr. Hooper said he believes his years of experience as a financial adviser will benefit the county.

“I would really dive into the budget and find out what’s behind the line,” he said.

Mr. Hooper said he considered entering county politics after reading the state comptroller’s report last year that identified the county as one of the most fiscally stressed in the state.

“They made some pretty terse comments,” Mr. Hooper said. “In 2007, the county had an $11 million surplus, and that’s all gone now.”

He plans to retire at the end of July, which will give him the time to provide a conservative view in county leadership.

“It allows me to apply what I know,” he said.

Mr. Hooper said he would like to explore how the county spends the state-tribal compact money it receives.

“I would like to know how it’s being applied,” he said.

He would look more closely at the benefit package for employees and what services the county should provide.

Mr. Hooper is among the group of fiscally conservative candidates the GOP is lining up to run against incumbent Democrats with the goal of taking the majority on the board.

Mr. Hooper declined to criticize the incumbent, Mr. Burns.

“I just think it’s time for a change,” he said.

The Hooper File
Donald J. Hooper is running for the District 1 St. Lawrence County Legislature seat.
Age: 65 Education: Graduate of Massena Central School; 1971 B.S. degree in business administration from SUNY Buffalo; 1980 MBA from Rochester Institute of Technology. Employment History: Seven years with Delta Sonic, Buffalo, a car detailing business; worked for Whalen, Davey & Looney from 1980-1986; then started Hooper and VanHouse, which merged with the Pinto firm in 2009. Party Affiliation: Republican Political History: Has not previously run for elected office. Member of the St. Lawrence County Workforce Investment Board for the last 15 years and has served as its chairman four different times for a total of eight years. Member of the Ogdensburg Bridge & Port Authority since 2006, serving as treasurer for the last five years. Family: Married to Margaret M. Hooper. Son Richard C., 35. Address: 619 Elizabeth St., Ogdensburg Place of birth: Massena
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