While political polarization seems to be apparent across the country, there is far less of a problem in Cortland County, county Judge Julie A. Campbell said Saturday while administering the oath of office to officials of Cortland and Cortlandville.
“I may be naive but as I observe Cortland, the county, the city, our towns, I can point to some examples of polarization but for the most part, we seem to have avoided that characterization,” she said. “That is not to say there are different viewpoints on the best way to accomplish various goals. Different backgrounds, values and ideas are a good thing in terms of government. However, as elected officials, we also bear the responsibility to foster tolerance, aberration and mutual respect. It’s that simple.”
Campbell presided over the swearing in of more than 30 Cortland and Cortlandville officials during Saturday’s inauguration at Cortland County Court.
The officials, with different viewpoints and agendas, were a mixture of tenured veterans and first-term elected officials.
“It’s humbling that the constituency who I represent have supported me, not just this time but over the last four elections,” Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin said. “I just hope I can go out there and show everybody that I’m representing them well and I’ve earned their vote.”
Tobin, who was elected to his fifth term as mayor in November, said that he wanted to continue working on revitalizing the city’s downtown and also work on the neighborhoods. He also wants to work with City Council members, hear what their constituents are saying and meet goals he and the council have.
“I appreciate the fact that we have eight outstanding people who have been elected, and I’m looking forward to working with them for the betterment of our entire community,” Tobin said.
Tom Williams, the newly elected Cortlandville town supervisor, said he was feeling hopeful for the future of the town.
“I’m very happy, very upbeat,” he said. “I’m going to approach this as, ‘let’s have some fun, let’s get some stuff done, let’s make Cortlandville all that it can be.’ It sounds like big talk but it’s true. We all want Cortlandville to prosper and grow and be a fun place to live.”
Williams will take over the position formerly held by Richard Tupper who, after more than a decade as supervisor, decided not to run for re-election this year. Williams was the town’s code enforcement officer until 2016.
Williams said that he doesn’t have specific agenda items he wants to accomplish but wants to continue the growth the town has seen over the last decade plus.
“My hope is we can continue that,” he said. “We have a good group. The people we have are solid. We have some experience coming back on the Town Board. We have some new ideas. We’re going to try to make it fun.”