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Bassett: short term decisions with long term benefits

The Town of Plattsburgh supervisor reflects on his political career

Town of Plattsburgh Supervisor Bernie Bassett says making contacts is key to getting his constituents what they want.

Town of Plattsburgh Supervisor Bernie Bassett says making contacts is key to getting his constituents what they want. Photo by Stephen Bartlett.

— As the economic crisis wreaked havoc across the country, Bernie Bassett gathered his department heads.

“I told them we were going through a storm and we’re going to have to trim and be conservative, but we were not going to stop and wait,” said the supervisor of the Town of Plattsburgh. “When all is said and done, we will be out ahead. I’m really proud of what we’ve done.”

Jobs continue to be created within the Town of Plattsburgh, which works hard to provide services, Bassett said.

“We just spent a lot of money on paving roads.”

Bassett spent a career in education, working as a teacher and retiring as a school administrator.

When he retired in July of 2004, he began his campaign for the Assembly.

“I really hadn’t made a decision to get into politics,” Bassett said. “I had friends help me to decide that was what I was going to do.”

The thought of it actually made him slightly uncomfortable.

“But I felt I could do it, though I didn’t know what I was getting into,” Bassett said. “But as of this date I don’t regret any of it.”

When the television shut off election night the race, which he lost, was tied.

Bassett ran for town council in 2005, stepped into office in 2006 and almost immediately found himself appointed supervisor when the previous individual in the position stepped down.

He ran for that office in 2006, won, and ran unopposed after that four-year term was up.

“No elected office should be a two-year term,” Bassett said. “You really never have time to get away from the race, and you need to be thinking about doing the job.

“A lot of people don’t understand what it is about and how it works,” he continued. “I don’t think I’ve worked as hard in my life.”

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