By Joe Mahoney The Daily Star
---- — Otsego County Republicans have fielded a candidate to challenge Rep. John Kosmer, D-Fly Creek — Rick Hulse Jr. of Fly Creek, a financial consultant and the president of the Cooperstown Country Club.
Hulse said in a statement that his experience as a businessman will help guide him as he pursues policies that benefit taxpayers. If elected, he said that he will accept no public benefits and will turn over his $10,500 annual salary to a local charity.
“With 20 years as a management consultant helping organizations of all sizes, I believe that I will bring a fresh perspective to tackling important issues such as economic development, financial oversight and easing the burden on small businesses and taxpayers,” Hulse said.
Otsego County GOP Chairwoman Sheila Ross said she believes Hulse will be an impressive candidate who will compete aggressively for Kosmer’s seat. She said the Democrat “hasn’t really done anything” since getting elected two years ago and “flip-flopped” on the decision to privatize the Otsego Manor nursing home.
As a candidate, Kosmer had said he opposed privatization. When the Manor’s deficits spiraled, he and most board members opted to try to sell the home. Kosmer later came up with a plan to keep the manor as a public facility. That plan was rejected, however, when he was unable to garner enough support for pushing for union concessions and holding a public referendum on whether a sales tax increase should be considered to plug the Manor’s fiscal gap.
Kosmer, an active member of the anti-fracking group Sustainable Otsego, said he sees Hulse as a “blank slate,” adding: “I haven’t heard that he’s had any involvement with civic activities dealing with the welfare of Otsego County.”
Hulse, in a statement, said: “My family has been involved in the communities of Cooperstown and the Town of Otsego for well over 100 years. I see my service on the County Board as the ability to give back not only as an experience professional, but as someone who cares deeply about our community.”
The board is made up of seven Republicans and seven Democrats, though the GOP holds power under the system of weighted voting. But Democrats have said they believe they can capture control of the board in the November elections. Part of that strategy calls on keeping Kosmer as the District 8 representative and electing New Lisbon Town Board member Ed Lentz to the District 5 seat now held by Rep. Pauline Koren, R-Milford. Koren is not seeking re-election, and the Republican candidate for the seat is Jamie Waters.
Kosmer won his seat in November 2011 when he defeated the then-Republican incumbent, Jim Johnson of Cooperstown.
Hulse and his wife, Christine McBrearty-Hulse have one child, a son named Matthew. Hulse is the managing director of the XONITEK Group of companies where he oversees operations and client relations worldwide, according to a press release from his campaign.