Whether or not you followed politics in the North Country, in the 70s, 80s and 90s, chances are you know the name David O.B. Martin. The former Congressman who served the region on many levels of government passed away Tuesday. Barry Wygel spent the day talking with people who knew Martin well.
CANTON, N.Y. -- "He was one class act. He represents the days of bipartisanship," Senator Charles Schumer said.
Statements like this echoed across the North Country as people learned of the passing of former Congressman David O.B. Martin. The Canton native's first foray into politics was on the St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators, next serving in the state Assembly. He finished his career by representing the North Country for 12 years in the House of Representatives.
Tom Jenison, Martin's neighbor in Canton, says one of the things Martin liked about politics was representing a diverse group of people.
"He had a large variety of people he represented, not just Republicans, but everybody in his district. I think he served them well," said Tom Jenison, chairman of the St. Lawrence County Republican Party.
Even though Martin spent his last couple year in the south, he remained active in local politics and visited often.
"Although he left Canton, he was certainly still in our hearts," said Jenison.
Martin returned to his home turf in 2010 to endorse Congressional hopeful Matt Doheny, who lost to Congressman Bill Owens.
"He was a true Republican, in a sense that he believed in smaller government. He himself exemplified how we like to think of ourselves," said Jenison.
But Martin wasn't afraid to walk across the aisle and became known for doing so.
“He was a Republican, I was a Democrat. We worked together so closely for the good of New York State," said Schumer.
Jenison says that aspiring politicians could learn a lot from the career of Martin.
"Realize once you win, you have to expand and represent everybody. And which I think exemplified him very well," said Jenison.
Martin was 68.
Funeral services will be held for Martin in Canton and also in West Virginia where he was living at the time of his death.