The pending departure of Rep. John McHugh brings into focus an issue I have cringed over.
The 23rd Congressional District has long been the North Country district taking in a large area in order to get the requisite 620,000 people.
The district meanders from Oswego to Plattsburgh covering a lot of empty space and oh so many small communities. Watertown is the largest city in the district, but it is hardly the center of gravity since so much of the district is far away and reads and hears media not enthralled with whether the Public Square fountain is or is not functioning.
As long as Mr. McHugh was our Congressman, that was fine.
He is a Watertown native and a Fort Drum advocate, so we could all rest easy we were the first among equals in the sprawling district. Now if I was mayor of say, Plattsburgh, I might like the Congressman, but let's face it, I would much rather have one of our own in that office.
Same thing if I lived in Johnstown or Madison County or anywhere else but Watertown/Fort Drum.
We could end up with a representitive from a couple hundred miles away. For the provincial thinkers among us, that is not the end of life as we know it, but it's close.
I will fly in the face of North Country political thought and suggest this large district of people with no sense of community may not be all that good a thing, unless we can find another McHugh lurking around Watertown.
When the lines are redrawn after the 2010 census, this district as we know it will be gone. Why not link our area to the central New York area we are part of. After all, Jefferson County will always be important to any Member of Congress by virtue of Fort Drum's presence.
I know how little I know or care about Clinton County or it's fate (nothing personal). So I just figure someone from there will feel the same way about us too. That's why while I am sure the mayor of Plattsburgh is a very capable guy, I want one of our own to replace Mr. McHugh.
I don't care much if it's DeDe, Darrel, Addie or Will.......Just so long as I can drive to their residence in less than half an hour.