By CRAIG FREILICH
PARISHVILLE -- Rick Perkins says he is switching political party registration to run as a Democrat for St. Lawrence County Legislator in District 7.
Republican Legislator Scott Sutherland has said he will not be running again for the seat representing the southeastern part of the county in the towns of Clare, Colton, Hopkinton, Parishville, Piercefield and Pierrepont.
Perkins, who works in the accounting department at J.E. Sheehan Construction, said “I like the way the majority is doing things, and I think we can all work together,” so he is switching his registration from the Republican Party to the Democrats and running for the seat.
“I’m not a hard-line Republican, not a hard-line Democrat. I think we all need to work together.”
Perkins says a party label won’t change the fact that “we are all after the same goal: to create jobs so our kids can find gainful employment and stay in the area.
“Sometimes work is hard to find, and I’d like to see them stick around,” he said before his planned campaign announcement in Parishville Thursday afternoon.
He also said he sees the county board’s five-year budget plan as workable, and is “being implemented to try not to raise taxes. I think the county could be in pretty good shape. We’ve got a plan and we should stick with it.”
Perkins says he has no experience with elective politics. “I’m just raising a family. There’s a lot of politics in that.”
But he says he has “always been interested in politics, always talking politics. But instead of just talking the talk, it’s time to walk the walk.
“I’m hoping I can contribute. I’m not saying I can change anything, just help moving forward.”
Perkins has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in business administration from Clarkson University, with concentrations in management and management information systems.
St. Lawrence County Democratic Committee Chair Mark Bellardini says Perkins “knows the area, knows the district, loves the area. He’s just what we need to move forward.”
Bellardini says recruiting candidates for the many races in the county this year has been going well, but they are always willing to hear from new talent. Interested people may contact their local Democratic Committee members, listed at https://sites.google.com/site/slcdemcommittee/town-city-committees.
His GOP counterpart is optimistic and hopeful as well.
St. Lawrence County Republican Chair Tom Jenison says that while the party has “done really well getting people lined up to run,” the District 7 contest is one where they have not yet selected a candidate. But Jenison said he and other GOP committee members are encouraging interested people to speak up and contact him at 212-3046.