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Russell B. Lawrence III seeks Morristown town supervisor position

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MORRISTOWN – Russell B. Lawrence III is running for Morristown town supervisor this year, advocating a new perspective in local government.

Mr. Lawrence said he is not running against the current supervisor, Frank L. Putman, who is seeking reelection. Instead, he said, “I’m running against complacency.”

A 10-year resident of the village, Mr. Lawrence has also owned a camp on the St. Lawrence River within the town since 1987. Owner of the Island View Funeral Home in the village as well as the R.B. Lawrence Ambulance service, Mr. Lawrence is also currently a coroner for St. Lawrence County. He is not seeking re-election to that post.

“I think Morristown has fallen into a rut. Morristown has got two remarkable natural resources: one is the people and two is the water,” Mr. Lawrence said of Black Lake and St. Lawrence River.

Mr. Lawrence said the town has been in decline since the ferry to Canada was discontinued, the bypass on Route 37 was installed and Route 12 began quickly ushering people through the town to Alexandria Bay.

To combat that, Mr. Lawrence said, he wants to be focused on increasing development.

“The budget is more about making payrolls and trying to maintain what they have,” Mr. Lawrence said. “They do a nice job, but there is nothing set aside for future development. I think we need to do something a little different to try to bring people to the area.”

With the village’s recent purchase of 130 acres of land connecting Bay Street with Main Street in order to build a road bypassing the aging bridge, Mr. Lawrence said the town should focus on helping the village use its leftover land for economic growth.

“It’s an opportunity to bring in new businesses and new residents and jump-start the community of Morristown,” Mr. Lawrence said. “We’re a community of descending numbers and we need to try to pick ourselves up by our boot straps and turn ourselves around.”

So far, Mr. Lawrence said, he has been talking with community members one on one in order to spread the word about his campaign.

“I’m trying to take a progressive approach to Morristown itself and try to get people to think in a new direction,” he said.

Mr. Lawrence is a Republican. His candidacy sets the stage for a September primary against Mr. Putman.

The general election is Nov. 5.

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