Big turnout for Democratic dinner — The Enterprise, Oct. 29, 1973

Friends who have been around for awhile agree that “politics” used to be interesting, challenging and, most of the time, fun, but it certainly was not a dirty word as it is today.

I have never used this space for politicking and never will — only observations.

The first Democrat from this district to run for the Franklin County Legislature when it was founded in 1968 was me. The Democrats needed someone to run and I did so with some hesitation…for the party, if you will. Knowing that I had a very slim chance of winning against Bill Mansion, [former New York State Trooper] a nice guy, very popular, a good friend and chairman of the Board of Supervisors … and I lost … that is not the fun part.

Years later Jim Finn, who had served on the Harrietstown Board and as County Legislator called me after a Town Republican Committee meeting and said, “Howard, our committee has agreed that if you want to run for County Legislator this year we won’t oppose you.”

I was very touched by that gesture; that was the fun part but the timing was off for me.

But geta’ load of this story:

“One hundred forty-two enthusiastic supporters and party workers gave Harrietstown and Franklin County Democratic candidates a warm reception at a Meet the Candidates Dinner at Muldowney’s last evening.

[Muldowney’s is now Tissot Construction Company located just north of the village on Route 86. Then owned and operated by the Muldowney family with the host being Jack Muldowney; everyone was greeted with a smile and a handshake by Jack and his offspring are now over-populating Saranac Lake. There must be at least 15 or 20 John Muldowney’s – and You Know What? There will be many more added to the clan because Jack’s granddaughter, Shannon, is getting married today and I am so proud that my big, handsome grandson, Dolan Colt Riley is a member of the wedding party.]

Oh, sorry, back to the Democrats and their dinner.

“Roger Tubby, press secretary to President Harry Truman and a member of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations was master of ceremonies. He used anecdotes about national politics to introduce each of the candidates.

“The Rev. C. John McAvoy, [who just celebrated a birthday], pastor of St. Bernard’s Church, gave the invocation.

“Margaret K. McLaughlin, candidate for Harrietstown Clerk and James Crowley, candidate for Harrietstown Assessor were among those introduced.

“Frank Ratigan, Democratic candidate from District 7, for the Franklin County Board of Legislators issued a prepared statement concerning issues of the campaign, including the county board’s 22 per cent tax reduction and in support of increased assistance to senior citizens. The full statement appears on Page 5.

“Among the Franklin County Legislators on hand for the dinner was David Vanderwalker, [former New York State Trooper] Chairman of the Board of Legislators who issued a prepared statement which can be found on Page 5.

“Also sitting at the head table were Legislator Robert Vincelette running unopposed in District 1, Legislator George Pond in District 3, Legislator Lyndon B. Baker, District 4.

“The incumbent County Clerk, Norman Dumas; the county treasurer, John (Jake) Hughes; the Franklin County Democratic chairman, Alfred Dufrane, were also present.

“The evening’s discussion focused on the upcoming election, and campaign workers were urged to continue their efforts on behalf of a good Democratic team.”

[If my memory serves me right, Ms. McLaughlin and Mr. Ratigan lost the election. Mr. Crowley was elected and Mr. Dumas and Mr. Hughes, if they were opposed, always won. When they came to Saranac Lake, whether to politic or just to visit constituents in this end of the county lots of people would turn out; they were popular because they were sincere, bright and friendly.]

Mansion and Hurley honored By NCCC

(Excerpts from the Enterprise, Nov. 13, 1973)

“William Mansion and William Hurley, both retiring from public office, were honored at a luncheon given by the Board of Trustees of North Country Community College at the Hotel Saranac yesterday.

“The men both spent 17 years in public office. Mr. Mansion was town Justice and Supervisor of the Town of Harrietstown and Franklin County Legislator where he served as Chairman of the Board. Mr. Hurley served one year as Mayor of Lake Placid and the remainder as Supervisor of the Town of North Elba. He also served as Chairman of the Essex County Board of Supervisors.

“James Loeb, first chairman of the college board, recalled the history of the founding of the college and lauded the efforts of the ‘two Bills’ for work they had accomplished on their two boards on behalf of the college.

“Mr. Loeb said it was their respective boards that finally made the college possible.

“Mr. Loeb gave special credit to William Meyer, a guest at the luncheon, for his persistence in working to establish the college. He recalled that it was Mr. Meyer who had laid the groundwork over many months that eventually brought about the meetings that established the college.

“Other guests of the college trustees were; Hilda Austin, trustee emeritus; Jan Plumadore, elected to Mr. Mansion’s seat on the Franklin County Board; and Howard J. Riley, former mayor, who had served on an ad hoc committee to establish the college with Mr. Meyer, Mr. Loeb, Mr. Mansion, James LaPan and Dr. Anthony Gedroiz.”