Jones wins seat on Lee Town Board

Published Nov 7, 2018 at 4:00pm

TOWN OF LEE — The Town Board will have a new member following the election Tuesday of L. James “Jamo” Jones Jr. to a partial three-year term, in a victory over interim councilman Ronald D’Amore.

Jones, a Republican, received 1,445 votes compared to 914 for D’Amore, a Democrat who in June had been appointed to the seat through the end of 2018.

Jones said this morning he was surprised at the result including his margin of victory, commenting “I really thought it could go either way.” He noted D’Amore had “a lot of support” and was “every bit as qualified as I am.”

But Jones cited his longer experience in the town including 22 years on the Planning Board in an appointed position, along with being a lifelong town resident other than his college years, plus his longtime involvement in several town/community organizations. Among them are Sons of the American Legion, Lake Delta Yacht Club, National Ski Patrol, and Point Rock Fish and Game Club.

“My 22-plus years on the Planning Board” had “quite a bit to do with it,” said Jones, of 5574 Main St. in Lee Center, who is a self-employed home designer/builder, cabinetmaker and restorer of wooden boats. He also referred to “my history” overall in Lee and his involvement with the town “for so many years.” He will resign from the Planning Board and assume his three-year town councilman seat as of Jan. 1

The seat normally has a full four-year term, but it was vacated last spring by Joshua Szyper who resigned to become the town’s new water supervisor.

D’Amore, of 122 Tuscan Way, said this morning he was disappointed in the election results. But “on the other hand, I learned a lot about the town and the people who live there” while he was campaigning, and it was “a good experience.” As he talked to people, he added, “I heard a lot of good things about Jamo. I think he’ll be a great asset to the board.”

D’Amore, who has lived in the town for eight years after previously living in the neighboring City of Rome, said of his election defeat that he was a newer member of the Lee community and it “did not weigh well for me.” In addition, “I was up against a really popular opponent,” and “those two things did me in” a bit.

When asked whether he might seek to run again for the board, D’Amore said that at the moment he had not really thought about it and had to “get over this one first.” He added “I still would like to contribute whatever I can to the community in some capacity.” One of the longtime owners of the Ace Hardware store in Rome, he is a member of the Rome Area Chamber of Commerce plus he had been president of the Rome Industrial Development Corp. and had been chairman of the Upper Mohawk Valley Memorial Auditorium Authority.

Jones will be the only Republican on the Lee Town Board, whose other four members are all Democrats including three other councilmen plus Town Supervisor John Urtz.

When asked about that situation, Jones said “at this level...I don’t see it as a big deal.” He added he is not seeking to make a lot of changes or “stir any pots,” but commented that “fresh ideas won’t hurt.”

He did say he would “like to see if we can better communication” among town government bodies such as the Town Board, Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals plus zoning, codes, and assessment offices.

Jones offered “my best” to D’Amore and expressed hope that they could serve together on the Town Board at some point.