MASSENA - When David H. Romigh moved back to his hometown, it was never his intention to run for political office.
But following his recent encounter with the village board, Mr. Romigh said he felt like it was something he had to do. He is the son of Charlie Romigh, a former county legislator and leader of the Massena Republican Committee.
I didnt come home and say, Im Charlies kid. Im going to get into politics, he said. I actually turned down an invitation to run for my fathers old legislature seat shortly after I moved home back in 2010.
Mr. Romigh, an information technology specialist currently between jobs, recently applied for a job as a career firefighter/driver with the villaget, but after not even be granted an interview and receiving less than satisfactory answers to his questions when he asked village officials about the criteria for filling the position is now seeking a seat on the very board that declined to give him an interview.
In addition to working in the U.S. Navys cryptology department, where he worked with the National Security Administration, Mr. Romigh also trained people to fight fires during his seven year naval career, experiences he said he felt made him at least worthy of an interview.
Im not voting for people who give me blank stares when I ask them questions, he said. The elected officials of Massena are answerable to the people. The people vote them in and by the same token when the elected officials are asked a question they have a sworn duty to provide an answer on behalf of the people who put them in office.
While Mr. Romighs decision to run for office comes at a point where its too late for his name to be printed on the ballot, Mr. Romigh, a Republican, is launching a write-in campaign for the position.
Vote for DeWitt and write me in, he said, referring to DeWitt G. Forbes, whose name will appear on the ballots Republican line. The pair of GOP candidates are squaring off against Democratic incumbents Albert C. Herbie Deshaies and Frances J. Carvel.
If you want change, write me in and Ill give you change, Mr. Romigh said, adding if he gets elected one of the things he would focus on is bringing more business to his hometown.
I would love for more businesses to realize how many assets are available in Massena. There is plenty of property ripe for development in a variety of ventures, inexpensive electric power and a workforce that I think just needs a little push to become motivated and proud again, he said. If we dont actively pursue bringing businesses to Massena, I dont think Massena can survive, and I want to see my hometown not just survive but thrive.
Following his military career, Mr. Romigh, 38, a 1992 graduate of Massena High School, spent several years working as a network engineer in New York City.
Ive handled large budgets, and Ive led men, both in the military and in the private sector, he said. I would like to say I understand better than most how tough decisions can have a wide-ranging impact.
He continued, I would like to think Im fairly eloquent, and I would like to think I dont beat around the bush. So when I asked the village board point blank for their criteria and I get nothing back in reply, this is not the village government I want representing my hometown.
When asked if he would be able to work with current board members should he get elected, Mr. Romigh replied, I hold nothing against the mayors administration or the board personally, but what I see is a general lack of guidance and accountability.
Mr. Romigh said one thing he wants to make clear is he wasnt expecting to have the job handed to him.
I was hoping for an interview. I was not expecting any treatment above and beyond, but I think the fact I was not even selected for an interview was a slap in the face, he said. I believe a veteran returning to his hometown with my qualifications should have at least got an interview.