NIAGARA FALLS — Brittany Catchpole v. Jason Zona for Democratic line
• Age: 18
• Education: Student, Niagara University
• Employment: Current full-time student
• Party Affiliation: Democrat
• Endorsements: Town of Niagara Democratic Committee, Republican Party, Conservative Party, Independence Party
• Community service/memberships: Rotary Club
• Previous government service: None — not a career politician
QUESTION: Tell us why you’d make a good Niagara County legislator and why you are running for office.
ANSWER: I want to represent you — my neighbors — in county government. I’m not running on catchy slogans, I’m running on a commitment to results. As a county lawmaker, I’m committed to holding the line on taxes during these extraordinarily difficult budget years. Bad decisions in Albany and Washington are hurting our taxpayers. County government needs to do everything it can to avoid adding to that pain, even as we strive to protect vital services relied upon by our seniors and families. We also need a government committed to fostering a climate that creates good private-sector jobs. As a young county resident, I see the impact of policy decisions on my friends just entering the workforce, and on our young families. We need more success stories like the creation of hundreds of skilled jobs at Globe Specialty Metals. County government helped make that happen through good tax policies and by working with the City of Niagara Falls. We also need leadership that understands the importance of expanding the Niagara Falls International Airport and protecting the 3,000 jobs at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. And, you deserve county legislators committed to the simple principle that our region should benefit from the presence of the Power Authority — not the other way around. That has to change, and I’ll fight as hard as leaders like Renae Kimble and John Ceretto did, until we have a permanent seat on the Power Authority Board of Trustees.
Q: What do you feel are the three most important issues/problems facing your district and how would you, if elected, address them?
A: Preventing tax hikes and cutting government waste while protecting vital services, helping businesses create good, high-paying private-sector jobs, and holding government accountable when its failures impact the lives of my neighbors. These are difficult budget years, and the county government’s bureaucrats will try to pass on the costs of their pet programs to the taxpayers. I aim to stop that wherever I can. Our county government must be lean, it must be efficient, and it must be effective. That means I will be, along with several of my colleagues in both parties, directing the county manager to take a scalpel to the county budget and trim the fat. That means reusing older equipment, taking a serious look at generous employee benefits packages, and reviewing out-of-state travel by department heads. There are no sacred cows. Even as we do that, though, we need to realize that many government programs are there to fill a real need, and we need to make sure our most vulnerable — seniors and young families — don’t end up shouldering the burden of cuts instead of the bureaucrats. At the same time, county government needs to be a partner to risk takers, the entrepreneurs that build businesses and create jobs. County policies on everything from taxes to road maintenance need to keep in mind that ensuring our county’s future means that we encourage job creation, so that our youth are able to have a good life and raise a family someday right here, and not in Texas or the Carolinas or Colorado. Finally, though, it is clear to me that Niagara Falls city government has created a massively over-budget, off-schedule boondoggle with their mismanagement of the Lewiston Road repair project. The good folks that live DeVeaux have been inconvenienced far too long, and there are real health concerns. As a county legislator, I will demand accountability from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
Q: Historically, primary elections suffer from low voter turnout. Do you think that’s because people are satisfied with the status quo or is it due to apathy and the feeling that nothing will change?
A: Too often in Niagara Falls and Niagara, there haven’t been choices. That’s different this year. I’m an outsider. I don’t come with any preconceived notions. Well, except for one: I will never forget who I work for, and I’ll always listen to you. I am offering a real choice, and real, positive change. I’m not backed by the Niagara Falls Democratic machine. I’m backed by my neighbors. They signed my petitions and put me on the ballot because we can’t afford the status quo any longer. My neighbors aren’t apathetic, and neither am I.