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Former Massena BDC leader Clark tapped as legislator

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CANTON — Jason A. Clark, a consultant and former director of the Business Development Corporation for a Greater Massena, was named Monday as the replacement for Sallie A. Brothers, a St. Lawrence County legislator who resigned last month for health reasons.

Mr. Clark, 39, Norfolk, was chosen by an ad hoc committee of fellow Democrats and appointed at a special meeting of the county Board of Legislators. Mr. Clark said he hopes to emulate Mrs. Brothers as a legislator.

“I’m looking to act in the same manner,” he said. “I think the most important thing is speaking to people and listening to them and advocating for those issues.”

Mr. Clark will fulfill the approximately one year Mrs. Brothers had left in her term and will have to run in 2014 with all of the other legislators if he wants to continue in the position.

“We’ll take it day by day,” he said. “I would expect that’s the way we’ll go.”

Mr. Clark has been one of the primary supporters of a four-lane highway for the north country. He is the owner of Clark Consulting LLC, which advises clients on fundraising, project management and grant application writing.

Mr. Clark said he was unable to seek political office when he worked for the Massena Business Development Corp. because of potential conflicts.

“I’ve had an interest in public service most of my life,” he said. “The timing seemed appropriate.”

Mr. Clark started his political career right out of college when he was a Democratic candidate in an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the New York State Assembly.

He ran into problems with the political leadership in Massena during his tenure at the Massena BDC due, in part, to his close ties with Democratic candidates and his attendance at partisan political events.

Ms. Brothers’ predecessor, Norwood Mayor James McFaddin, said earlier Monday he had no interest in returning to the seat he had held for 17 years.

“No, I haven’t considered the position. I served 17 years and have no intention of seeking that seat. I enjoyed the 17 years I served (as St. Lawrence County legislator) and have interest in continuing work and projects in the two and a half years left in my term as mayor,” he said.

“I’ll be watching closely to see who is appointed. It’s important to appoint someone who has solid support because you want to avoid a primary if you could. It’s an important decision and a wise decision needs to be made on the appointment,” Mr. McFaddin.

He also had high praise for the work Ms. Brothers did during her tenure on the county legislature. “Sallie served admirably and served well at a very difficult time.“She worked well with the municipalities and she was effective and when she made a commitment to assist she did. She was a unifying force at the right time,” he said.

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Staff writer Vincent Barbosa contributed to this story.

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