January 29 – Happy Birthday Burtiss Deal

burt2dealHere’s an excerpt from my story about this one-time Amsterdam Mayor. The entire story appears in my new book “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam Birthdays.” To order a copy, click here.

Born in Amsterdam, NY on January 29, 1882, Burtiss Deal won four consecutive two-year terms as Mayor of the Rug City beginning with his victory over Democratic opponent Joseph Hand in 1947. Deal’s time in office began when Amsterdam’s mighty carpet mills were booming with post-war prosperity and ended as Bigelow-Sanford started what would become an exodus of rug manufacturing from the city.

In an interview with the Recorder on the occasion of his 80th birthday in 1962, a retrospective Deal told reporter Hugh Donlon that he wished he had won his first term as mayor earlier in life because at 66 years of age, he said he lacked the energy he needed to be more active in that role. Back then however, it was an easier job. The city’s economy was strong and so were property tax and other city revenues. Deal was a good friend to Amsterdam’s business community and made it clear many times that he was not one of those politicians who felt government should interfere in things. He liked to point out that in spite of his last name he wasn’t a supporter of Roosevelt’s New Deal or Truman’s Fair Deal philosophies.

That hands-off style of governing led to a pretty insignificant legacy…

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