Otsego County businessman Jim Blake says he is mounting a Republican primary challenge in the 51st Senate District for selfish reasons.
“I love my kids and I want to see them stick around,” he said, explaining that incumbent Sen. James Seward, R-Milford, isn’t doing enough to create jobs for the state’s young people. “We spend the money to educate them and then they leave.”
With a background in business, Blake, who is the co-owner of a Georgia insurance agency, founded an international trading company and currently serves on the board of directors of a software company, said he knows how to make New York attractive to business development. “I’ve done everything pretty much as far as business goes,” he added
The first steps would be lowering taxes and reducing the state’s expenses. He said the state has everything for businesses to succeed, but state officials just need to let private job growth happen unhindered. The state’s economic development efforts, Blake said, have not been fruitful enough, especially in the 51st Senate District, which includes Schoharie County.
In the district, he said the economic prospects are “depressing” and a more localized approach needs to be fostered.
Blake is also an active member of the community, as he is a member of the Knights of Columbus, is a founding member and scoutmaster of Troop 168, an active member of Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church and is also involved in a pregnancy and infant loss awareness group.
The 54-year-old Blake was born and raised in Florida, but has lived in upstate New York for more than a decade. While living in Georgia, he was a founding member of Republicans for Integrity in Politics and in the 1980s was nominated and accepted into the Republican Senatorial Inner Circle. He and his wife have five children.
In 2010 Seward didn’t have a Democratic challenger and Blake believes, based on the large Republican enrollment advantage in the district, that whoever wins the Sept. 13 Republican primary will win easily in the fall’s general election.
This year, though, attorney Howard Leib of Ithaca will be the likely Democratic candidate.
Specific objections have been filed against Blake’s Republican petitions and Leib’s Democratic and Working Families petitions according to the New York State Board of Elections, which is reviewing the objections now.