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December 27, 2013

New chairman to lead Clinton County Legislature

PLATTSBURGH — After more than a dozen years with Jimmy Langley at the helm, the Clinton County Legislature will see a new leader in 2014.

Legislator Sam Dyer (D-Area 3, Beekmantown) is set to take over the chairmanship when the new legislature convenes on Jan. 2.

“I am looking forward to the challenge,” Dyer said recently. “The county has been in good hands, and we want to keep it going that way.”

INDEPENDENT VOTES

Langley (R-Area, Peru) became chairman in 2001, one year after joining the legislature. With two years remaining on his most recent four-year term, he recently decided to step down as chairman.

During his time as chair, the legislature was perceived to have transformed from a division between Republicans and Democrats, with most votes following party lines, to a nonpartisan entity.

Langley was largely credited with breaking that mold and encouraged all legislators to work together, no matter what party they belonged to. One of the first moves he made was to sit legislators around the table randomly instead of having all the Democrats on one side and all the Republicans on the other.

Republicans have held the majority on the legislature since Langley has been chairman, but all legislators voted independently.

“I don’t think we’ve ever had a party-line vote,” said Legislator Sara Rowden (D-Area 4, Town of Plattsburgh), who has served with Langley from 2001 until this year.

Langley said the legislature embraced his idea of non-partisanship, which is what made it work well.

“I think the best accomplishment was that we got along so well,” he said.

‘LISTENED AND LEARNED’

Democrats took a 7-to-3 majority in the November election, and Dyer, who was elected in 2011, stepped up to take the job once Langley made it known that he was bowing out.

“Jimmy did a super job, and the county has been in good hands with him, but I think I am ready, and I think the county is in very good shape,” Dyer said.

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