BELMONT — The state and local political landscape is still feeling the aftershocks of state Senator Cathy Young’s Thursday announcement that she is resigning from her seat in Albany effective March 10.

On Monday, the Allegany County Board of Legislators shared a sentimental, mixed-emotion response to the announcement. Young (R,C,I-Olean) had represented Allegany County and the 57th District since 2005.

“While Allegany County is saddened to see Senator Young leave her current position, at the same time they are excited for her and her new position knowing that the decision by the Senator was not made lightly. Senator Young has been a passionate and effective advocate of issues important to Allegany County citizens,” said a statement from the board. “From our veterans and senior citizens, to our first responders in the Fire and EMT Departments, to our roads and bridges, cancer services, health matters, highway and infrastructure issues, and agriculture, there was nothing that Cathy Young wouldn’t take on for the people of Allegany County.”

Young enjoyed widespread support, often running unopposed across the 57th District, which also encompasses southern Livingston County as well as Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties. Allegany County Board Chairman Curt Crandall noted the impact Young made on the area.

“We are going to miss Cathy Young a great deal,” said Legislative Board Chairman Curt Crandall. “She has gone to bat for our County so many times it’s impossible to describe the gratitude we have for her. She has been an integral part of all major projects since she first became Senator as well as our Assembly Representative before that, and we are so proud of her.”

Young, who grew up on a farm in Avon, is leaving politics to take a leadership position at the Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture at Cornell AgriTech.

“While she will certainly be missed as Senator, Allegany County is glad to know that Cathy Young’s new position as Director of the New York State Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture at Cornell AgriTech will keep her in a key position tied to economic development through agriculture which is so important to them and those in the farming community as well higher education and existing food processing sectors in the County,” stated the board.

Speculation as to who will fill the sudden vacancy is well underway. Assemblyman Joe Giglio, a Republican who represents Allegany, Cattaraugus and the southwest corner of Steuben County in the 148th District, was almost immediately floated as a candidate. Young made a similar move from the Assembly to the Senate during a special election following the death of Senator Pat McGee. Thus far, Giglio has made no public move for the seat.

That may not be the case for long on the other side of the political aisle. Nancy Bargar, a former Democratic leader in the Chautauqua County Legislature, is considering a run for the open Senate seat.

A Chautauqua County native, a release stated that from a young age Bargar has never wavered in her persistence in bringing an underrepresented voice forward, even when the minority party did not win elections. In 1992, she garnered the closest State Senate race that year, coming up short in the absentee count. Subsequent campaigns in 1994 and 2005 were unsuccessful. In 2010, she lost a bid for the NYS Assembly. For 10 years, Bargar served in the Chautauqua County Legislature, with leadership roles first in the minority, and then in the majority of the legislature.

“From my days as press agent for Assembly Majority Leader Daniel Walsh, and Assemblyman Rolland Kidder, my interest in making sure all voices are heard in Albany has never waned,” Bargar said. “I’m passionate about the area where I live, and about public policy. I look forward to a thoughtful conversation with fellow activists about who might be the best candidate.”

With or without an elected title, Bargar said she volunteers tirelessly bettering her region through projects large and small. For example, she has spent countless hours over the past five years working with Cattaraugus County legislators to help save a Civil War Memorial in Little Valley. As a lawmaker, she is credited for championing the cleanup of county tire dumps, and the ban on smoking in public places.

In 2015, Bargar was named Chautauqua County’s “Democrat of the Year.” She is a State Judicial Delegate, helping to select candidates for judicial positions in the district that includes Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans, and Wyoming Counties. Bargar serves on the board of the regional Democratic Women of the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes, advocating for women leaders across Central and Western New York. She has also served on many governmental, non-profit, and private boards.