A health care professional from Saranac Lake plans to run for Franklin County's Republican State Committeeman post.
Ray Scollin says he's running for the committeeman seat currently held by Franklin County Legislator Paul Maroun in order to inject "new energy" and "new ideas" into the county's GOP establishment.
By state party rules, the 114th Assembly District is represented by four committeemen and women - two from Franklin County and two from Clinton County.
Scollin says the Republican Party "desperately needs to regain its voice" in New York.
In a recent interview with WNBZ, Scollin said there is a mounting frustration among Republicans and Democrats with their party leadership. He points to the rise of the tea party as a sign that the status quo is longer acceptable.
For Scollin, it's time to get off the sidelines and try to affect change from within the GOP establishment in northern New York.
"You know, I've been trying to make changes within the system - it hasn't been successful," he said. "I think one way that I could affect some positive change is to have more of an inside seat and try and get my party - which I care very deeply about - to start paying more attention to the registered voters in Franklin County, the registered Republican voters in Franklin County."
As a committeeman, Scollin would represent Republicans from Franklin County at state committee meetings in Albany.
The committeeman seat also guarantees a spot on the county's executive committee.
"There's not a lot of Republican county committee meetings," Scollin said. "What there are, are a lot of executive committee meetings - that's the majority of the meetings during the year. If I want to try and force a debate to the table, if I want to raise an issue, if I want to try and get information to the leadership within the Franklin County Republican Party, from what I'm hearing from the constituents, I can do that for a change. I have a seat at this table; that's clearly why I'm running for this position."
Scollin says the GOP needs to make significant changes in the way it endorses and supports candidates in North Country elections.
For starters, he says the Republican leadership needs to do a better job of listening to voters on the local level.
"I think a lot of times, information comes around from Ed Cox and the state committee down to the county chairs, who then pass it on to the rest of the Republicans," Scollin said. "And I'm looking to reverse that. I want to make sure there is good, solid communication that's going up the chain, that we're listening to the people out in St. Regis Falls, Vermontville, and all the areas of this county and saying, 'what do you think?' Let's know going into the primary, and let's certainly remain neutral and let the people vote."
Scollin lives in Saranac Lake with his wife Mary and has been a member of the Saranac Lake Village Republican Committee for 24 years. He's also served as a committeeperson with GOP organizations in Franklin County and Harrietstown for some 15 years.
In order to get on the ballot for a Sept. 13 primary, Scollin must obtain at least 500 signatures by July 14; he says he's confident the region's GOP will give him the support he needs.