PORT HENRY - Tom Scozzafava has been working for the people of Moriah virtually his entire life.
He started work for the town at age 14. After high school graduation he worked in the town buildings and grounds department and at Bulwagga Bay campsite. The past 20 years he has served as town supervisor.
"I'm 52, going on 53, and still here," Scozzafava smiled. "I've seen a lot of changes over the years. This has pretty much been my life. They've been good years."
Scozzafava, a Republican, is running unopposed for his 11th term as Moriah supervisor this fall.
There are political races in the town this fall, though.
Incumbent Richard Carpenter, former trustee Eugene Williams, Timothy Garrison and Laura Baker are seeking two GOP nominations for two board in the Sept. 15 primary vote.
Incumbent trustee Tony Harvish is not seeking re-election.
Moriah Republicans will also choose a candidate for county sheriff between incumbent Henry Hommes and Michael "Ike" Tyler and county district attorney between incumbent Julie Garcia and Kristy Sprague.
Scozzafava is the second-longest serving member of the Essex County Board of Supervisors.
Moriah is unique, Scozzafava said.
"The town of Moriah is a community like no other," he said. "We have five hamlets (Mineville, Witherbee, Moriah, Moriah Center and the village of Port Henry), miles and miles of infrastructure and a lot of different issues important to different people."
Moriah has been successful in recent years gaining federal and state grants to complete many projects, such as water and sewer systems, construction of an industrial park and the creation of a new health center.
"It's a difficult job," Scozzafava said of being supervisor, "but what makes it much easier is that we have great town employees. They are truly public servants."
He singled out Becky Gilbo, his clerk for the past 18 years.
"She's my right arm," Scozzafava said. "She's the numbers lady, the one who makes the budget work."
Scozzafava takes pride in running an open administration. The town board was one of the first in the North Country to television its meetings to the community.
"People see us from start to finish with no editing," Scozzafava said. "With the support of the town board we hold very open meetings and encourage public participation.
"You have to listen to people," he continued. "You can learn a lot every day by listening to your constituents."
Scozzafava said the Moriah town board has done a good job of holding down property taxes, although he continues to argue to state changes in the property tax system.
"The whole property tax system is in great need of overhaul," he said. "It's antiquated and is the most regressive system there is. There's been years and years of talk in Albany, burt nothing ever gets done. We'll keep trying."
In his next term Scozzafava said he will continue to work toward attracting businesses and jobs to the town. He would also like to see a hotel come to the community to boost local tourism and he wants to see more improvements at the town-owned Bulwagga Bay campground.
"One of the biggest assets of our community is Bulwagga Bay," he said. "Those revenues are used to offset taxes. It's a real benefit to the taxpayers."