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Guest Column: State Sen. Tom O'Mara

“Beginning My Senate Service

ALBANY, Jan. 10 -- The economic and fiscal challenges may be as daunting as they’ve ever been in New York State, but there has never been a more important time to serve.

When I finally took the Oath of Office and was sworn in as the New York State Senator representing our 53rd Senate District, one thought kept running through my mind: this is a real opportunity to get to work on the ground floor of turning this state around. That pinpoints the key challenge facing this year’s class of state legislators – and there are many of us serving in new capacities in both houses of the Legislature – and it will ultimately be the barometer of our success. Can we, finally, begin to right the ship? Can we, finally, take advantage of the opportunity for a fresh start in New York State?

When I reflect on the beginning of my first term in the Senate, I keep recalling that time-honored, often-repeated, common sense bit of wisdom: “Out of adversity comes opportunity.”

That simply couldn’t be truer in New York State in 2011, and I’m hopeful about the work ahead of this new Legislature to truly begin reforming so many of the practices of state government, and to revitalize key New York State commitments. This work started in earnest when Governor Andrew Cuomo delivered his first State of the State message on January 5th – and the governor further sets the stage with his first state budget proposal in February.

First, however, let me say that I’m very honored to succeed my good friend and one of the outstanding public servants this region will ever know, former Senator George Winner, whose remarkable career spanned four decades and produced a long list of enduring achievements.

I’m enormously honored for this opportunity to represent all of you and I’m looking forward to the opportunities we will have to work together to improve the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions. And let me emphasize together. Our communities are most effective when we join forces, so I’m eager for the opportunities ahead to become acquainted at a community meeting, through 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 I believe that above all else it’s time to return to the fundamentals of good government, a list that always begins with open, honest, straightforward give-and-take between elected officials and those they represent.

So here at the beginning of my Senate service, priority No. 1 is to carry on a tradition of accessibility and teamwork in representing the communities of the 53rd Senate District. I believe it’s long been a valuable and effective tradition for our constituents, and I’ll be working closely with all of our local Assembly representatives, as well as with the local leaders whose efforts are central to the quality of our counties, towns and villages.

My Senate service will focus on fundamental principles. Accessibility to those you represent. Responsibility to the taxpayers. Economic and fiscal soundness. I will be doing everything I possibly can to build on this bedrock of effective government, and I’m grateful for the opportunity.

Photo in text: State Senator Tom O'Mara


Schuyler County Officials

Legislature Members:

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

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


Legislature Chairman

Dennis Fagan, Tyrone

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

Stewart Field, Reading Center

County Clerk: Linda Compton, 535-8133

Sheriff: William Yessman, 535-8222

Undersheriff: Breck Spaulding, 535-8222

County Treasurer: Margaret Starbuck, 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 415, Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247
Phone: (518) 455-2091
Fax: (518) 426-6976

Assemblyman Christopher Friend -- Chemung, Schuyler, Tioga
Room 720, Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12248
Phone: (518) 455-4538


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