Grant Kyle wasn't expecting to become a Cayuga County legislator when he was appointed to the body in 2016. One year later, he wants to continue his work as a government official.
Kyle is the Democratic, Independence and Working Families party candidate in the District 4 race. The district is comprised of the town of Brutus and village of Weedsport. He's running against Chris Petrus, the Republican and Conservative party nominee.
It's unusual to have an even number district on the ballot when odd number districts are traditionally on the ballot. But the election for the remaining two years of the four-year term is necessary after Mark Farrell, who was re-elected to represent District 4 in 2015, resigned last year.
Kyle, who is an unaffiliated voter, was selected to fill the vacancy. Following his appointment, he opted to caucus with the Democratic majority.
One reason Kyle took the job: He didn't want to see Brutus unrepresented in the county budget process.
"I thought it was a great opportunity for me to get involved in the community," he said.
He also viewed it as a chance to build on his private sector experience. His family operates North Brook Farms, which manufactures cow mattresses in Auburn. He is senior vice president of a sister company, IGK Equestrian, which produces horse arena footing.
In addition to the manufacturing businesses, Kyle is owner and president of KyleCroft Development, a real estate development company.
While he values his business experience, he also relishes the opportunity to serve in a public role.
"It's definitely nice to be able to think about things from a perspective other than your own — your own business, your own good," he said.
He has a few priorities if he wins another two years on the county Legislature. CGR, an outside consulting firm, is examining potential consolidation or reorganization at the county level.
CGR isn't necessarily looking at cuts, he said. But he does believe the review is important for the county's future considerations.
"We need to be informed," he said.
The county government's buildings are also on his agenda. There are conversations about the future of the Cayuga County Office Building and whether a new facility should be built or if the current Genesee Street structure should be renovated.
But Kyle noted that other county buildings are aging, too.
"There's many different avenues to go down, but I think that it needs to be addressed," he said.
Like other candidates on the ballot this year, water quality is a high priority for Kyle. Blue-green algae in Owasco Lake poses problems for most of the county. Owasco Lake is the main drinking water source for 50,000 residents.
There should be no delay in addressing water concerns, Kyle said.
"It's gotta be dealt with now," he said. "We're just talking about having a multi-front attack on trying to deal with the issue."
The challenges Cayuga County faces interest Kyle. Between the possibility of reorganization, the hiring of a new administrator and the future of the county's buildings, there are plenty of decisions that will need to be made that impact the entire county.
"I think this is gonna be a pretty exciting time to try to come up with what the future is going to look like," he said. "That's pretty motivating to me."