“Public service is nothing more than the willingness to put others before yourself and the belief that all things are possible for the people you serve if one works hard and does what is right.”
– Louis J. Desso
Having lived all my life in Rensselaer County, it was one of my proudest moments to be sworn in as a Rensselaer County Legislator in front of my family and friends on January 1, 2009. My mother Louise Marchese Desso Bowen, son Jonathan, daughter Jamie, and wife Debra were all in attendance that day, while my father Cedric "Ted" Desso was with me in heart and spirit not far away. I have always been proud of my family and community and on this day I pledged to both to let my principles guide me in the process of becoming a leader in my town.
Originally from Troy, I have lived with my family in North Greenbush for the past 29 years. Both of our children attended Gardner Dickinson School and benefited greatly from the youth programs provided by our town. My son Jon, a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, is an Executive Manager with Target Corp. and a high school varsity basketball coach. My daughter Jamie, a master's level graduate of Russell Sage College, is the first grade teacher at the Albany Academy School For Girls and previously coached the Gardner Dickinson girls modified basketball team for a period of five years.
Involvement in the community has always been a priority for our family. As my children were growing up I served as a coach at Twin Town Little League, St. Jude's CYO basketball, Classie Lassies softball, and a commissioner for South Troy Pop Warner. I was on the board at St. Jude's School and my wife Debbie was a member of the Rosary Society and currently teaches religious instruction at St. Jude's. Today I am active in the St. Jude's Knights of Columbus and North Greenbush Kiwanis Club while Debbie who is a Licensed Practice Nurse (LPN), and Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC) now spends her time caring for the seniors in our life and our two grandchildren, Camilla and Nicholas.
Formerly I was vice president and principal of Clinical Services and Consultation, which provided substance abuse and mental health treatment at three Capitol Region locations. Additionally, I owned and operated Adventure Place Daycare Center in Ballston Spa. Following the sale of Clinical Services to St. Peter's Hospital in Albany in June 1999, I became the director of marketing and admissions for St. Peter's Addiction Recovery Center. In 2003, I was honored as an Employee of the Year at St. Peter's.
I am proud of what I have accomplished to date, yet none of this would have been possible without the blessing I received on January 13, 1983 when I entered into recovery from alcoholism and substance abuse. It is my recovery program that has blessed me with what I have today and shapes my character and belief system for everything that I do including my duties as a public servant and politician, both of which I am very proud of.
So it is after 29 years of continuous sobriety, 27 of which have been spent in the Human Services field, that I have found nothing more gratifying than when I can have a positive impact on another person's life. I have come to believe the quality of my life is in direct proportion to my willingness to help others. It is with this thought in mind that I will be seeking re-election to the Rensselaer County Legislature on November 8, 2012.