Over the last 27 years, there have been many changes in Saratoga County politics, but one thing has stayed the same: Jasper Nolan's tenure as county GOP Chairman. As YNN's Matt Hunter reports, after nearly three decades as a leader in the local Republican Party, Nolan is finally passing the torch.
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – "I felt at my age. I'll be 78 in two weeks, I should move aside, let somebody else get used to it and see how it goes," said John “Jasper” Nolan, the outgoing chairman of the Saratoga County Republican Committee.
After almost three decades at the helm, Nolan's time as county chairman has come to a close. This past weekend, he formally stepped down, paving the way for incoming chairman John Herrick.
"Certainly Jasper has his style of doing things and I'm a different person, I'm going to have a different approach at things,” Herrick said Monday. “Jasper was very much involved in all phases of the party and he did a terrific job for those 27 years."
A former mayor of Stillwater, Herrick was serving as Nolan's vice chairman. He says his first priorities are to help keep the county's taxes the lowest in the state and recruit more young people whom can be groomed for the future.
"When it comes time for me to step down, there will be others that will be willing and eager to step in," Herrick said.
When Nolan's term as chairman began in 1985, Reagan was in the White House and a different Cuomo was New York's Governor. While there's been no shortage of changes since then, one Nolan says he's especially proud of is the rise in prominence of women within the party.
"For some of these women that did come on board, they really did have some great things to add to the voting and all that, so I would say that was a plus," Nolan said.
Nolan departs at a time when the party is in flux. The committee chose not to formally endorse a candidate in the hotly contested 43rd Senate District primary between Roy McDonald and Kathy Marchione, a race in which same-sex marriage was a key issue.
While voters and even some elected officials may be split, both the incoming and outgoing chairman do not see it as an issue that will divide the party in the future.
"I think that particular issue is behind us and I think the Republican Party is certainly supportive of the laws of New York and we move forward," Herrick said.
"There were people who disagreed, it was over, we came together and she's now the major person in that 43rd District," Nolan said.