Niagara Gazette

Columns

December 18, 2012

GUEST VIEW: Lessons from a state Assembly run

Niagara Gazette — For most of my adult life I have been active in the civic affairs of our community. I’ve served on a variety of volunteer boards as well as holding public office. This past year, I chose to become a candidate for the New York State Assembly from the 145th District.

With over 50,000 votes cast for state Assembly, unfortunately, I fell short by 1.5 percent of the vote. Though I was disappointed at the results, the number of people who believed in our campaign’s message of more cost-efficient government and the need to capitalize on our location to create jobs encourages me. Because of this, while I have accepted the decision of the voters, I’m convinced that I have a role to play in articulating those issues most important to Western New York.

For decades, the economy of New York state, especially that of Western New York, has been under attack by the forces of globalization. I met people whose jobs had been outsourced or whose companies had left the area altogether. I met people who were beginnimg to question our area’s ability to compete against the low-cost labor in foreign markets. I met people who were tired of the old fashioned and outdated answer that government was the problem. Instead, they want government that wil find a solution.

Our campaign presented a comprehensive plan, which would make it more attractive for businesses to relocate here and for current businesses to expand. We can accomplish this by improving the infrastructure that would capitalize on the $70 billion in merchandise trade between the United States and Canada. When this is linked with the Niagara Falls International Airport, the development of new business opportunities, from warehousing to commercial transport, could foster hundreds of good--paying jobs.

Reducing the cost of government will also improve the economic development climate here in Western New York. Our campaign was the only campaign that presented a real proposal that would lower the cost of Medicaid without hurting those people in need. By structuring the Medicaid program similar to other health insurance programs, New York state taxpayers could save millions of dollars each year. In Niagara County, the reduction would cut Medicaid costs by $2.7 million per year.

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