There is a contested race for Highway Superintendent in the Town of Ovid. It often fascinates casual observers of politics and elections that highway contests—like the one in Ovid—become some of the only ‘competitive’ races in certain years.
That’s because streets are the thing that residents and taxpayers interact with every-single-day. And admittedly, it takes a special person to run a highway department - for all the financial uncertainty and logistical challenges that come with it.
Jeremy Huff is an Ovid resident, endorsed by the Conservative and Independence parties in November’s election for highway superintendent. He’s challenging the incumbent Republican Highway Superintendent Jay Dey.
Huff brings more than 14 years of highway experience to the table - including half of which were spent with the Seneca County Highway Department. He also worked for Villager Construction specializing in building, repairing and reconstructing municipal and interstate roadways.
“I’m simply running because I enjoy doing highway work,” Huff explained. That experience on local roads, as well as roadways all across the East Coast makes a difference, according to the challenger. “I literally started from the ground and worked my way up the experience ladder, learning details of roadwork in the process.”
Huff says that this experience is crucial for a highway department like Ovid’s, which focuses heavily in that area. “My experience ranges from basic mechanic work and flagging, resolving drainage issues, snow plowing to calibrating and operating large scale construction equipment and working with state inspectors, engineers and local municipalities to make sure every aspect of the job is done to the specifications required and within the time constraints given,” he continued. “As much as I enjoyed the work - it’s time to bring that knowledge home to Ovid - to work for my community.”
Huff’s philosophy on road maintenance is simple: Fix it before it needs to be entirely overhauled. “It’s easier and more cost efficient to maintain your roads properly than to let them fail and eventually rebuild them,” the challenger explained. “While every road has its day to be rebuilt, if you’re proactive with your work and maintaining them properly, you get a lot more life out of them—saving taxpayers money.”
He admits that Ovid has been fortunate to have good roads for the last 30 years, but at this point - it’s ‘vital’ to the safety of those traveling on them to ensure that those roads are improved and well-maintained over the next several years.
“I think it goes without saying that the safety of the Town Highway employees and the public on our roads is always a top priority,” Huff said of the individual issues that need attention over the next 1-2 years. He also believes that listening to the public, taking their concerns into consideration, and being able to recognize what areas need attention and priority is important, too.
Simply put, he says there are roads to be dealt with in the short-term that cannot be put off much longer.
Huff knows that Ovid is a beautiful place to call home. It’s the reason he is raising his family there. That said, balance is needed; and strong planning—to ensure that Ovid is well-poised moving forward.
“Having and following a fiscal plan is essential,” Huff explained. “I think looking into other avenues of funding, such as grants, would help improve our roads and bridges without putting added strain on the taxpayers.” He says that obtaining grants, in addition to proactive maintenance can make a big difference in an already great place.
“Ovid has always been a beautiful place to live and raise a family. It’s exciting to see so many new businesses joining our community. In order for this growth to continue, we need a highway superintendent who is engaged with residents, aware of their needs and committed to ongoing infrastructural improvements,” added Huff. “I will bring this commitment to the role of highway superintendent and will ensure that the work performed by the Highway Department is not only conducted within the confines of the Town budget, with the interest and safety of all residents of our town.”
Editor’s Note: The Ovid Gazette has reached out to Ovid Highway Superintendent Jay Dey and next week will feature Part II of this profile series looking at both candidates ahead of Election Day.