3 seeking GOP nomination; Lacona Legislator Kastler retiring after 6 terms
OSWEGO — Boylston native James Macklen, a longtime mechanic and agriculture equipment technician, has announced he is seeking a spot on the Oswego County Legislature.
Macklen is running to represent county Legislature district 1, currently occupied by Legislator Margaret Kastler, R-Sandy Creek. Kastler earlier this year announced she would not seek re-election after 12 years of service.
Macklen said his relationship with Kastler was one of mentorship and described how the outgoing legislator helped him further his understanding of local government at a young age.
“I became interested in local government during high school and began attending my local town board meetings where I met (Kastler),” Macklen said. “She graciously spent many hours answering my questions about how local government operates, the relationship needed between residents and officials, and the impact possible through involvement.”
After graduating SUNY Cobleskill with a degree in agricultural engineering and business operation, Macklen started work as a full-time private contractor, servicing farm and gardening equipment for clients all around the county.
While on the job, he got a chance to listen to residents and what they thought were the most pressing local issues.
“I was hearing first-hand — as I traveled throughout the county repairing equipment — citizens' concerns about local government,” he said. “We all had essentially the same issues but there was also a concern about representation. Many people expressed frustration — they said we were stuck in a rut and needed a new and younger perspective from officials who were better able to relate to their constituents because they were in a similar time of their life with similar responsibilities.”
Macklen listed unemployment, business failure, substance abuse, flooding and poverty as some of the most common issues he has heard about.
“Awareness is needed — not surrounding the issues themselves — but around the responsibility we all have in facing them and the actionable steps everyone can take to help find solutions,” he said. “Being involved in your local government, even if just through regular attendance of local meetings, will make the biggest impact.”
His “fresh perspective,” Macklen said, will be an asset when tackling issues at the county level.
“I plan on bringing a fresh perspective to the legislative table while objectively building on the foundation of previous legislators where appropriate,” Macklen said. “I’m not afraid to ask questions or give my opinion.”
Macklen also cited his commitment to the area and his business as an asset.
“I am committed to this area,” he said. “My heart and business are both here in the county and I have a vested interest in seeing us succeed as a community and I won’t be leaving for greener pastures. I’m here to stay. I’m in it for the long haul.”
District 1 will be contested during this year’s primary elections, with Macklen joining Stu Amell and Michael Yerdon as candidates announced for the Republican Party ballot line.
“Competition is expected and necessary in a healthy democracy and only serves to sharpen constituents’ awareness of the impact of their choices,” Macklen said of the primary.
The Primary will be held June 25. Election Day is Nov. 5.