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What you need to know for 01/16/2018

Veitch jumps several steps in leadership

Veitch jumps several steps in leadership

The Veitch name is already well-known around Saratoga Springs, and it’s going to become better-known

The Veitch name is already well-known around Saratoga Springs, and it’s going to become better-known across Saratoga County.

With at least six county supervisors leaving office at the end of the year — including some who were once being groomed by the Republican Party for leadership posts — one of the winners is looking to be Saratoga Springs Supervisor Matthew Veitch.

Veitch, assuming he is re-elected in November, will be in line by seniority to become vice-chairman of the county Board of Supervisors in 2014. The vice-chairman chairs the Law and Finance Committee, which writes the county budget.

Then he would become chairman of the board in 2015. The job rotates every year.

If that comes to pass, Veitch would be the first board chairman from Saratoga Springs since Philip Klein, back in 1992.

Veitch, 41, is well-connected, even without mentioning anyone outside his family. He is the older brother of Saratoga Springs Police Chief Greg Veitch, and their father is Michael Veitch, a former Saratoga high school teacher and a well-regarded horse racing writer.

Another brother, Mike, is a political consultant who used to work for state Sen. Roy McDonald; a fourth brother, Paul, is a sergeant with the police department.

McDonald is also Matt Veitch’s father-in-law.

A network engineering specialist with Verizon, Veitch was elected a county supervisor in 2007 and has made dragging — yes, dragging — the county’s use of computer technology into the 21st century one of his priorities.

Veitch’s crack at leading the board is coming more quickly than it does for most supervisors because Halfmoon town Supervisor Mindy Wormuth, who was otherwise in line, decided not to seek re-election. She lost the backing of the town Republican Committee last spring, after being dogged by controversy for several years, and ultimately decided not to fight its decision to endorse Kevin Tollisen.

Greenfield town Supervisor Dick Rowland, who might have laid a claim, has decided the road to fulfillment lies through retirement and more time in Florida.

The open seats on the board’s Law and Finance Committee created by the departures of Rowland and Wormuth will be filled in 2014 by Ed Kinowski of Stillwater and John Collyer of Providence. Getting onto the committee is the first step up the leadership ladder.

As far as who will chair the board in 2014, current vice-chairman and Malta town Supervisor Paul Sausville survived his Republican primary Tuesday, but he faces two experienced opponents in November and is far from guaranteed re-election.

If Sausville were defeated, the logical thing would be for Charlton town Supervisor Alan Grattidge to remain chairman for another year, but those are little-charted waters.

Solomon Northup

The early buzz is that “12 Years a Slave” — the new movie based on the story of Solomon Northup, lured from Saratoga Springs into Southern slavery in 1841 — is an Oscar-quality film. It will come out Oct. 18.

It’s a tale with a strong local angle that deserves to be better known, and soon will be. In addition to the movie, there’s a new book, “Solomon Northup: The Complete Story of the Author of Twelve Years a Slave,” by David Fiske, Clifford W. Brown and Rachel Seligman.

Fiske wrote a book a couple years ago that documented Northup’s life outside the slave years, to the extent such things can be documented through 160 years of murky mist. Northup was born a free black man in the Adirondacks and settled in Saratoga Springs, until two con men convinced him to travel with them to Washington, where he was kidnapped and sold.

After he regained his freedom, he dropped off the face of the earth at some point in the 1850s, despite having written a book about his slave life. Northup was briefly a speaker on the pre-Civil War abolitionist circuit, but his final resting place is unknown.

While the producers of “The Place Beyond the Pines” came to Schenectady for authenticity, there was no filming for “12 Years a Slave” in Saratoga. Talbot’s, The Gap and Banana Republic now sit in the neighborhood where Northup used to play his fiddle.

Stephen Williams is a Gazette reporter. The opinions expressed in his column are his own and not necessarily the newspaper’s.

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