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Colonie GOP leader steps down

After more than 36 years of service, Colonie GOP Chairman Harry D'Agostino decided to pass the baton, effective Friday, July 31.

D'Agostino, 78. said he "would have stepped down a couple years ago," although he decided to stay on as chairman after the party lost the 2007 Colonie Town Supervisor election when Democrat Paula Mahan beat incumbent Mary Brizzell. With that election, Democrats won the majority in the Town Board for the first time in decades.

His goal was to put together a party slate that would bring victory for the GOP in 2009, which D'Agostino said, "We've done all that, second to none." Now, D'Agostino said all of the campaign literature and planning is complete from now through November, so he saw it as the perfect time to have someone younger take on the role.

"[My job] is never done, but you need somebody younger, and I'm not going to live forever," he said.

During his tenure as chairman, 36 years and seven months to be exact, he said, his most proud and memorable moments came with the victories of GOP candidates.

"Everyone has their own different little thing, and each one you're happy about as a leader," he said. "I think the thing that you're most proud of is all the different candidates who've come along and we've nurtured."

D'Agostino said one of the more interesting things to watch time and again was candidates going from the Town Board to the New York State Legislature, and then back down to Town Board.

Not all party members agreed that this was a good time for him to step down, D'Agostino said.

"Everyone will tell you, 'This is not a good time.' They'll say, 'Change is bad.' Change is OK," he said. "You just gotta know the right time, and I think this is the right time and the right atmosphere."

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