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Guest Column: State Sen. Tom O'Mara

"For the sake of tradition"

ALBANY, Dec. 15 -- It’s a season of traditions. Family traditions, community traditions, and so many others. So like I traditionally do this time of year, I’ll take a pause from dissecting the challenges facing us and, instead, focus on expressing our collective gratitude for priorities more in keeping with the spirit of the season.

Despite the stubborn economic and fiscal challenges continuing to plague New York and every other state across the nation, we can never stop being thankful for the foundations of the future.

Everything flows, of course, from the most important foundation of all: a strong economy. There’s a persuasive case to be made that the greatest hope for strong, successful communities stems directly from an economy that’s producing good jobs and providing long-term economic security and stability for workers and families.

So we’re fortunate, as I stressed here last week, that the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regional economic development councils continue to pursue a quest to develop dynamic, promising, locally based economies. We’re still battling a weak national economy and some tough, tough job losses, so the rays of economic hope these councils provide are more than welcome.

And here at the beginning of this week of celebration and reflection, I’ll take this chance to express my appreciation for the hard work. After all, of all of this region’s gifts, our greatest asset remains the people here, of every age and every walk of life, who live and work, go to school and provide public service, and otherwise take part in our cities, towns and villages in countless, meaningful ways. I simply can't say enough about all of the business owners and their employees, the first responders and educators, the volunteer relief groups and concerned citizens who keep answering the call throughout the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions. That’s the difference. It’s what sets us apart.

It’s hard to believe that the final days of my third year as this region’s State Senator are on the doorstep, but here they are. Looking back, New York government’s started to right the ship in some important ways. But it’s still missing the boat far too often.

I just keep recalling that time-honored idea that “out of adversity comes opportunity.” It’s one way to keep looking ahead. This very thought’s going to hold true for New York State in 2014, and I’m hopeful that the work ahead of this new Legislature will continue to reform many state government practices and revitalize key state and local commitments.

So I’ll close out year three in the Senate in the same way I began this tenure, by saying that I’m looking forward to the opportunities we’ll have to keep working together. The emphasis remains on together. Our communities are most effective when we join forces. Which means I’ll keep reaching out in the weeks and months ahead to share ideas at a community meeting, through work on a local project, or in pursuit of common goals.

I’ll be doing my best to provide as many of these opportunities as possible, because a return to the fundamentals of good government is needed more than ever. It’s a list that always begins with open, straightforward give-and-take between elected officials and those they represent.

Priority No. 1 remains to carry on a tradition of accessibility and teamwork in representing the communities of the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes. My service will stay focused on fundamental principles: Accessibility to those you represent. Responsibility to the taxpayers. Economic and fiscal soundness.

Finally, we can only say that it’s never easy. We’re doing our best to endure job losses, and we’re fighting to save vital community institutions and services. We’ve paid tribute to brave young men and women, heroic young soldiers, who’ve paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of America.

I know that we’ve all paused in our daily lives and in our own ways, no matter who we are or where we stand, to offer a silent prayer during times of tragedy locally, nationally and around the world. We’ve offered quiet wishes of hope and strength to families and communities. We’ve counted our own blessings and pledged to carry on in a stronger spirit of common good.

The truest meaning of this season endures.

My very best wishes to all of you and your families, friends and neighbors during these holidays and throughout the New Year. I look forward to hearing from you.

Photo in text: State Senator Tom O'Mara

Schuyler County Officials

Legislature Members:

Top row (from left): Dennis Fagan, Thomas Gifford, Doris Karius, Glenn Larison

Bottom row: Michael A. Yuhasz, Barbara Halpin, Phil Barnes, Stewart Field


Legislature Chairman

Dennis Fagan, Tyrone 607-292-3687

Legislature Members:

Michael A. Yuhasz, 535-4967

Doris L. Karius, 546-5544

Barbara Halpin, 594-3683

Glenn R. Larison, 594-3385

Thomas M. Gifford, 535-9517

Phil Barnes, Watkins Glen 481-0482

Stewart Field, Watkins Glen 535-2335

County Clerk: Linda Compton, 535-8133

Sheriff: William Yessman, 535-8222

Undersheriff: Breck Spaulding, 535-8222

County Treasurer: Gary Whyman, 535-8181

District Attorney: Joseph Fazzary, 535-8383


State, Federal Officials for Schuyler County

Sen. Charles E. Schumer

United States Senate
313 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-3201
DC Phone: 202-224-6542
DC Fax: 202-228-3027
Email Address:

Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand

United States Senate
478 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
DC Phone: 202-224-4451

State Senator Tom O'Mara -- Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Yates, western Tompkins, Enfield, Ithaca (Town and City), Newfield, Ulysses(Trumansburg)

Room 812, Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247
Phone: (518) 455-2091
Fax: (518) 426-6976

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano-- Steuben, Schuyler, Yates
Room 723, Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12248
Phone: (518) 455-5791


© The Odessa File 2011
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869