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Two Republican challengers to Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell emerge

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Two potential Republican challengers to Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, D-Theresa, have emerged.

John S. Humphrey, Brownville, will hold a news conference at 4:15 p.m. Wednesday at the Italian American Civic Association, 192 Bellew Ave., to announce his candidacy for the seat.

And Cape Vincent Town Councilman John L. Byrne III has filed with the state Board of Elections to run for the Assembly seat. He declined to comment on the race Monday afternoon.

Mr. Humphrey will campaign to be on the Republican and Conservative lines in the November election for the seat, according to a news release about the announcement that cited the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act as his motivation to run for the seat.

“I decided to run about a year ago when the NYSAFE Act was passed,” Mr. Humphrey said in the release. “Our member of the Assembly chose to vote with the governor and not with her constituents. The north country deserves someone who will fight to protect her rights and not for their own political agenda.”

Mr. Humphrey retired as a chief petty officer after a 25-year Navy career and recently retired from 22 years of service as a weapons inspector at Fort Drum.

He served 1 terms as town of Cape Vincent justice in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Mrs. Russell has been elected to the seat three times.

Reached in Albany, she said, “This is part of democracy. It’s good that there are candidates willing to run and talk about the issues that our area faces — education, making our healthcare system sustainable, working on our unemployment rate and bringing in jobs and investment.”

Responding to Mr. Humphrey’s criticism of her vote for the SAFE Act, Mrs. Russell said, “I do believe that a strong majority of north country residents support the SAFE Act,” before adding that there were some provisions she thought should be amended.

The law, which is intended to curb gun violence, was passed under a message of necessity last January.

“We needed to respond to the growing number of incidents and make sure that our state remains as safe as possible,” Mrs. Russell said.

In November 2006, the state Department of Environmental Conservation charged Mr. Humphrey with attempting to take wildlife while in or on a motor vehicle and for discharging a firearm from a public highway.

Mr. Humphrey appeared in front of Rodman Town Justice Donald F. Sayyeau on Nov. 30 of that year and paid two $100 fines for the offenses.

Mr. Humphrey said that he was on what he thought was on a “seasonal walking road” in the town of Worth when he fired from his vehicle.

“It was my fault,” Mr. Humphrey said. “I paid my fines and did all the paperwork... I talked with the officer and realized I was wrong... It’s certainly something that will never happen again.”

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