Cornell To Assume District 12 Seat

As former Chautauqua County legislator Fred Larson transitions into his new position as Jamestown City Court judge, another former legislator has been selected to take his seat.

Last week, the county Democratic Committee gathered to select Larson’s replacement on the County Legislature – Chuck Cornell, D-Jamestown, who will represent District 12.

“I was pleased to be selected by the committee, and have accepted their nomination,” Cornell said.

Norm Green, Democratic election commissioner, said Tuesday the selection had been forwarded to the County Legislature for approval.

A simple majority vote, which translates to 10 in his favor, is required for Cornell to take Larson’s seat until November, when a general election will take place.

“The committee considered several candidates, and Cornell was the person they thought would best represent District 12,” Green said.

Cornell is no stranger to the boundaries of the district, which covers portions of Jamestown, north of East Second Street and east of North Main Street.

He represented roughly the same area during his term as county legislator from 2006-10, prior to the legislature downsizing from 25 to 19 representatives when the districts were redrawn.

While Cornell will take Larson’s place for now, he has the choice to run for election in November to keep the District 12 seat for another year.

“One thing at a time,” Cornell said. “I’m currently waiting to see what happens in terms of the legislature. I’ll focus on the north side of Jamestown and representing them to the best of my ability, and if the legislature approves me, then I will consider plans for the fall.”

Cornell is the current director of the Center for Regional Advancement at SUNY Fredonia.

As the city’s new judge, Larson will no longer practice law and will no longer be involved with the Board of Public Utilities, Chautauqua County Airport Commission and the Land Bank Corporation.

Larson said he was humbled by the opportunity to serve his home town as a City Court judge,

“I am excited, after 37 years in the private practice of law,” he said. “It’s exciting to have a new opportunity to serve the public.”

Larson won 59 percent of the votes in the race against Republican candidate Bill Prieto in November’s election for county legislature, and was a strong advocate for improving industrial development in the area.