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Fanning touts fiscal responsibility, experience in Lewis re-election bid

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COPENHAGEN — A Copenhagen-area lawmaker is touting his fiscal responsibility and experience in seeking a fifth term on the Lewis County Board of Legislators.

“I’m still an advocate of downsizing government to save taxpayers dollars,” said Legislator Charles R. Fanning, R-Copenhagen, a retired dairy farmer who represents all town of Denmark residents, “and I would continue to work in that direction.”

Mr. Fanning, the board’s vice chairman, is being challenged for the District 3 seat on the county Legislature by fellow Republican Craig P. Brennan, a retired police investigator and businessman from Deer River. The two are expected to face off in a GOP primary in September.

Because of redistricting, the district next year will encompass most of Denmark, except for the Castorland area, along with the northern part of the town of Lowville.

With half of the 10 sitting legislators deciding not to run for re-election this fall, Mr. Fanning said he decided to offer his district’s voters the option of continuity.

“We are losing five legislators for sure, possibly more,” he said. “I think we need some stability left on the board.”

Mr. Fanning chairs the Transportation and Solid Waste Committee and serves on the Taxation and Economic Development committees.

In keeping with his philosophy about less government, he touted privatization of many of the county’s mental health programs and moving of certified home health and hospice programs under the auspices of Lewis County General Hospital, both of which occurred while he was chairman of the legislative Public and Mental Health Committee.

“The hospital can run them more efficiently,” Mr. Fanning said of the latter two programs.

He also said he was pleased with the planned privatization of the county’s alcohol and substance abuse treatment center by fall and the conversion of the Solid Waste Department a couple of years ago into an enterprise fund, meaning it operates on fees charged with no additional county subsidy.

Mr. Fanning also touted ongoing efforts to redevelop the former Lyons Falls Pulp & Paper mill and to coordinate development of all-terrain vehicle trails.

Other highlights of his tenure include implementation of the Pro-Act prescription discount card program for uninsured residents, institution of road striping, recent upgrades to the Singing Waters county park in the town of Greig and maintenance of the senior meal program despite difficult fiscal times, he said.

Mr. Fanning is a Copenhagen Central School graduate and attended Cornell University, Ithaca, before embarking on a career in farming.

He and his wife, Carolyn, live on Deer River Road.

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