Simpson promises smooth transition to Assembly

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, right, introduces 114th District Assemblyman-elect Matt Simpson, left, on Tuesday night at an election party at the Queensbury Hotel in Glens Falls. (Provided photo — Christopher Lenney, Watertown Daily Times)

Horicon Supervisor Matt Simpson said he believes it will be a smooth transition from his current job to his new one representing the 114th Assembly District.

“I’m just looking forward to representing every person in this district, and the campaign is over, the election is over and now I’m excited to get to work,” he said.

Simpson will resign as supervisor at the end of the year after being elected to the Assembly on Tuesday. He captured 59% of the vote over Democratic opponent Claudia Braymer, the Glens Falls 3rd Ward supervisor, who received 39.5% of the vote, and former Thurman Supervisor Evelyn Wood, who garnered 1.3% of the vote, according to unofficial returns.

Simpson said Wednesday that Sylvia Smith, his deputy supervisor and a fellow Republican, has indicated that she is interested in being appointed supervisor for the rest of his term, which would have ended Dec. 31, 2021.

“She’s been my deputy for several years now and she’s done a great job. She’s a lifelong resident of Horicon,” he said.

It would be up to the board to decide whether to hold a special election, according to Simpson. He said he believes the board could leave the seat vacant until the next regular election.

“Our board does operate very well, and we’re able to get through the issues and debate things,” he said.

When asked to reflect on his victory, Simpson attributed his success to retail campaigning.

“Right from day one, I hit the ground running — talking to as many people as I could, spending as much of my time visiting with businesses, business owners, being out in the public,” he said.

Simpson said he followed proper protocols by wearing masks and practicing social distancing. When some of the restrictions were loosened, he campaigned door to door.

Simpson said he is eager to work on pressing environmental issues caused by climate change. In October 2019, there was significant damage to infrastructure in the North Country because of very heavy rainfall. He worries about increasingly powerful storms, he said, and his town has two dams that have been difficult to maintain because of the amount of water.

Upgrading wastewater and drainage systems should be a priority, he said. He also wants to improve broadband and cellular coverage.

Simpson said getting businesses up and running and improving the business climate is also a priority.

Simpson, who formerly owned a drywall company, said the state has high payroll taxes and workers’ compensation rates. There are also laws like the scaffold law, which puts all of the liability for accidents on the employer, that put extraordinary burdens on businesses.

“We need to lift the burdens that New York state has put upon businesses,” he said.

Braymer tweeted out a statement thanking her supporters.

“I am so grateful for, and humbled by, the support that I received throughout the 114th Assembly District during the campaign. Thank you to everyone who gave time, effort and resources. So many worked very hard and of course we are disappointed by the results. Let’s continue to serve our North Country communities,” she wrote.


Post-Star reporter Kathleen Moore contributed to this report.


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