Family members, friends and colleagues this week will commemorate the many years of public service that Virginia M. Adsit has given to the north country as she retires from the Jefferson County Board of Legislators.
A Republican from Watertown, Jennie Adsit was first elected to the County Board of Supervisors in 1977. She has retained her position ever since, including through the change in county government to a Board of Legislators in 1996.
According to a story published April 25, 1977, in the Watertown Daily Times announcing her candidacy, Mrs. Adsit said “a woman’s voice and input could serve the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors.” Like numerous times before, the board was made up entirely of men that year.
“Her tenacity in serving her constituents and the residents of the city of Watertown has been remarkable,” Board Chairman Scott A. Gray, R-Watertown, told the Times in an email. “She truly is a people-first legislator. There has never been a doubt about where she stands on an issue. Jennie, along with Carolyn Fitzpatrick and Jim St. Croix, were quick to instill in me early on a commitment to stand strong for the city.”
Even before holding elective office, Mrs. Adsit was committed to serving our community.
The Times story in 1977 reported that she had worked with the Welcome Wagon Newcomers Club, Starbuck Elementary School Parent Teachers Association and the Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts.
She led the volunteer committee for the playground constructed at Thompson Park in 1987. And as chairwoman of city’s transportation committee, she helped start the bus service to Salmon Run Mall and Jefferson Community College.
Mrs. Adsit won the 1988 Israel A. Shapiro Citizenship Award. A Feb. 26, 1989, story in the Times reported that she served on the organizing committee for the Mayor’s Ball, was a volunteer at the Irish Festival’s Make a Wish Booth and played bingo for a decade with residents of the Jefferson County Home for the Aged (Whispering Pines).
In his letter nominating her for the Israel A. Shapiro Citizenship Award, Charles H. Lester Jr. wrote: “Jennie is a doer and firmly believes in service to others. Jennie Adsit, a make-it-happen person … She is a credit to our community.”
This sentiment hasn’t dimmed over the years. County Legislator Carolyn D. Fitzpatrick, R-Watertown, said that Mrs. Adsit has set a good example by for her long service to the community and dedication to her constituents.
“She was there 20 years before me and 20 years with me,” Mrs. Fitzpatrick said. “Jennie can be as gentle as a lamb and as tough as a bull — and each time, all for the right reasons. Jennie has always looked out for the people in her district or in the county.
“If you got in her way, she would let you know it because she had a job to do for her constituents,” Mrs. Fitzpatrick said. “She certainly is admired in the community for all the boards she’s been on and the community functions in which she’s been involved. Jennie has been everywhere. Women in the community have admired her very much. She looks out for the people first, and I mean the everyday person, the underdog.”
County legislators will gather at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday before their regular meeting to have a photograph taken with Mrs. Adsit. They will then hold a ceremony at 5:30 p.m. to commemorate her service to the board and our community.
This honor is well deserved, and we join legislators in congratulating Mrs. Adsit for all that she has accomplished over the years.