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NY Senate Majority Leader Flanagan visits Fort Drum for the first time

Julia Botero
Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan says he was impressed by the size of Fort Drum and soldiers' skills

State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan toured Fort Drum Wednesday for the first time since becoming a state lawmaker in 2002. Flanagan was elected Senate majority leader in May when former leader Dean Skelos resigned due to his arrest on federal corruption charges. Flanagan's visit was part of a day-long tour of the North Country. 

Flanagan, a Republican from Long Island, stands in a suit and tie, his hands politely clasped in front of him. On the floor, pairs of medics in full army gear rip the shirt off a mannequin next to them and start building a tourniquet. The room is dark and smoky, meant to replicate a battlefield.  The Army medics yell instructions as Flanagan and a small group of local lawmakers watch. Then, a uniformed soldier opens a door letting in bits of blinding sunshine.

“I wanted to give you a chance to see what these guys are doing in action. So if everyone wants to come out here, I'll get you a chance to talk to these guys in a second, " Flanagan said.

Outside on the grass, Flanagan said he’s glad to have the chance to see what goes on here, at Fort Drum. 

“I think I have a great life. I know I’m blessed but when you come here, even the simulation, I’m looking at this mannequins and I’m wondering how they do this in real life, but thank god they do.”

Flanagan says he knows for sure that state Republicans understand how important Fort Drum is to the North Country.

"I live hours away from here but what happens up here in a place like Fort Drum, if things are going well up here, that's beneficial to my community as well," Flanagan said.

Sen. Pattie Ritchie is accompanying Flanagan on his tour of the North Country. The Republicans' first stop was SUNY Oswego.

"It’s always great to broaden your perspective so that now when senator Ritchie talks about something else in her district it’s easier to understand. And by the way, I've been here in the dead of winter and now like a beautiful day like today."

After Fort Drum, Flanagan's last stop of the day was a dairy farm in Jefferson County.