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Retired Drum public works director plans Lewis Legislature run

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LOWVILLE — A retired director of public works at Fort Drum plans to run this fall for a seat on the Lewis County Legislature.

“I think the Legislature needs some turnover,” said Richard A. Chartrand, 67.

Mr. Chartrand, a registered Democrat, plans to seek the seat in legislative District 5 — encompassing most of the village — that is held by Legislator Patrick F. Wallace, R-Lowville. Mr. Wallace, a retired engineer at the state Department of Transportation, has yet to announce whether he plans to run for a fourth two-year term.

“I’m not running against Pat,” Mr. Chartrand said. “I’m running to give voters a choice.”

The village resident, who operated Chartrand Electric Inc. for 12 years, then spent more than 23 years in the Fort Drum Public Works Department, said he has considered running for a legislative seat since retiring in 2007 but did not want to run against his friend and fellow engineer.

However, he believes this is the right time to take that step.

“I’ve done the things I wanted to do with retirement,” Mr. Chartrand said.

The Lowville Academy and Central School alum said he has worked with most sitting legislators and feels he would bring strong decision-making and collaborative skills to the board.

“I am a communicator,” he said. “I believe the legislators, towns and villages need to communicate better.”

Having served on the Lewis County General Hospital board of managers for 10 years during the facility’s last financial crisis, Mr. Chartrand said he should be able to help guide the current fiscal turnaround at the county-owned facility.

As for the proposed county office building on outer Stowe Street, he said it may make sense to move forward, but only if it is well thought out.

“I have no problem with the right-sized, right-cost building,” Mr. Chartrand said. “I’m not against it. I’m against doing it wrong.”

Mr. Chartrand earned an associate degree in mechanical technology from SUNY Canton, a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in public administration from Syracuse University.

He has been a voting machine custodian for the county for more than 35 years and is a member of the village Planning Board.

He is a longtime member and past exalted ruler of the Lowville Elks Lodge and a 37-year member of the Lowville Fire Department, serving as chairman of the department’s budget committee for three years.

Mr. Chartrand was on the St. Peter’s Catholic Church festival committee for 32 years, on the parish council and president of the church’s former parochial school for eight years, a hunting safety instructor for 22 years and a Boy Scout leader for 15 years.

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