OGDENSBURG Certified public accountant Donald J. Hooper, a Republican, will challenge St. Lawrence County Democratic Legislator Vernon D. Sam Burns for the District 1 seat this fall.
Im running because I think our county is in bad financial trouble and I think I can bring something to the table, said Mr. Hooper, a partner in the firm of Pinto-Mucenski-Hooper-Van House. I think there has to be a better way than spending the fund balance.
Mr. Hooper believes his years of experience as a financial adviser will benefit the county.
I would really dive into the budget and find out whats behind the line, he said.
Mr. Hooper said he considered entering county politics after reading the state comptrollers report last year that identified the county as one of the most fiscally stressed in the state.
They made some pretty terse comments, Mr. Hooper said. In 2007, the county had an $11 million surplus and thats all gone now.
He plans to retire at the end of July, which will give him the time to provide a conservative view in county leadership.
It allows me to apply what I know, he said.
Mr. Hooper said he would like to explore how the county spends the state-tribal compact money it receives.
I would like to know how its being applied, he said.
He would look more closely at the benefit package for employees and what services the county should provide.
Mr. Hooper is among the group of fiscally conservative candidates the GOP is lining up to run against incumbent Democrats with the goal of taking the majority on the board.
Mr. Hooper declined to criticize the incumbent Mr. Burns.
I just think its time for a change, he said.