Turnover in government is often a good thing for the citizens.
Incumbency often breeds complacency, stagnancy and sometimes corruption.
And a political system designed to protect incumbents locks out qualified candidates who might do a better job in office.
Turnover allows fresh ideas, fresh energy and fresh approaches into the legislative process.
But turnover also has its down side.
When effective, experienced, dedicated elected officials decide to move on, the citizens lose those officials’ ideas, energy and approaches polished by having learned the system from within and from the connections they’ve made by actually doing the job.
So it is not without mixed feelings that local voters will be saying goodbye to two area state senators who’ve represented their districts with dedication and will be welcoming new representatives to the Legislature in 2021.
Within the last week or so, state Sens. Betty Little and George Amedore announced they would not seek re-election.
Little is retiring from state government after 23 years as a member of the Assembly and Senate, serving residents of the North Country and the Adirondacks.
Little has always been a strong voice for her constituents in offering pragmatic solutions to complex problems.
Being of one political party (Republican) never prevented her from seeing all points of view and making decisions she felt best served all of her constituents.
Her doors were always open to the press and the public, and praises for her service come from a variety of constituencies with often competing interests.
She didn’t always make everyone happy, and we didn’t always agree with of her positions.
But she has been a solid representative, and will be missed.
Amedore hasn’t served nearly as long, going on six years, but he’s brought an active businessman’s perspective to a body heavily populated by lawyers.
Never flashy or eager for attention for himself, he nonetheless carved out a niche in the Legislature as a strong voice in the fight against substance abuse and in support of ways to get the most out of our educational system.
As the owner of a construction company, he was a fighter for small business, seeking changes to workers’ compensation laws and seeking to make it easier for businesses to get started and to navigate the state’s complex business laws that make it so difficult to operate in New York.
Both lawmakers have been honest, dedicated and open and available to their constituents. We can disagree on their positions and still respect their service.
While we look forward to getting some new faces and new voices in the Legislature, we also should take a few moments to recognize the contributions of the individuals they’ll be replacing.