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As Destito looks to the future, she reflects back on the past as Assemblywoman

By JOLEEN FERRIS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Assemblywoman RoAnn Destito agonized in private over whether to vacate her assembly seat after 18 years as a state lawmaker, and accept Governor Cuomo's nomination to Commissioner of the Office of General Services.

"This is bittersweet because I loved my job," Destito said. "I loved being a legislator. I loved listening to people and I loved trying to help people and make a difference. But I promise I'm going to make a difference in this new job."

The veteran assemblywoman will go from lawmaker to landlord; her new office is the owner/manager of all state-owned properties. Destito is looking forward to making a difference in her new position.

"Making sure that we're using the buying power of the state of New York not agency by agency but by the state so I'm going to be overseeing changes at OGS not just me personally but the team, making sure we're getting the best bang for the buck that New York State spends."

As Destito prepares for new challenges, the scramble begins to replace her.

Once Destito goes before the State Senate for confirmation, the governor can call a special election to replace her. There is no primary before a special election, so the roles of the parties take on new importance; they will chose the candidates. And the fact that, for the first time in two decades, there won't be an entrenched incumbent on the ballot, makes for a political free-for-all.

"We can get upset on this one, no question, but I'm going to work hard so that doesn't happen," says Oneida County Democratic Chair Bill Barry.

Barry says it's not just about putting a Democrat in Destito's chair, but finding the right person for the job.

"We're not looking for a win just for a win, we're looking for a person to go down there and run the business of government," says Barry.

Adding to the mad scramble is the fact that there's no real time frame. The closest anyone, including Destito herself, can guess, she will go before the senate for confirmation in the next few weeks. The governor can call a special election after that.

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