SCHENECTADY COUNTY -- Sara Mae Pratt of Alplaus, owner of a Schenectady bakery that employs people with developmental disabilities, was appointed Tuesday to a vacant seat on the Schenectady County Legislature representing Glenville and Niskayuna.
Pratt, 28, the owner of Puzzles Bakery & Cafe, will replace Rory Fluman, who resigned from the Legislature representing District 3 last month to become the new county manager. Pratt was sworn in by state Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam.
Pratt has not previously held elected elected office, but has been a member of the Schenectady County Industrial Development Agency board for the last three years, and sits on a state advisory board on autism spectrum disorders.
Pratt, a Democrat, said she will run for the seat in a special election this November. The election will fill the remaining two years in Fluman's term.
"This will be my first time [running for office], but I have a B.A. in government from Skidmore College, and it's been a passion of mine," she said.
Pratt started Puzzles Bakery about four years ago, and more than half the employees have autism or another developmental disability. "It's always been a passion of mine to advocate for people who can't advocate for themselves," she said.
Pratt grew up in Rotterdam and Niskayuna, and now lives in Alplaus with her husband and 10-month-old son.
"She will bring her advocacy for disabled people and her business experience to the Legislature," said Legislator Gary Hughes of Schenectady, the Democratic majority leader, who nominated Pratt for the vacancy. She was selected unanimously by the legislators who were present.
"Ms. Pratt's entrepreneurial spirit and her commitment to our community will be welcomed on the Legislature and I'm sure she will do a great job representing all the residents of District 3," said County Legislature Chairman Anthony Jasenski, D-Rotterdam.
Members of the County Legislature earn $14,093 annually. Pratt said she doesn't expect holding office to have any effect on her business operations.