By Timothy Chipp email@example.com
Niagara Gazette — There will be a Democrat in public office in the Town of Lewiston come January.
Dennis Brochey, the Democrat candidate and Village of Lewiston trustee, defeated Republican Ernie Palmer, a member of the Lewiston Town Board, by an unofficial total of 1,965 to 1,547.
“They understand Lewiston needs a change,” Brochey said of the town’s voters. “I think Lewiston suffered a black eye and I’m here to make sure it never happens again.”
When he takes office in January, Brochey will be the first Democrat since Fred Newlin held the post in 2009 to sit on the town board.
Brochey, a former automotive repair business owner of more than 20 years, said he’s going to operate the town closer to how he operated his shop. One of the biggest issues he challenged Palmer on in his campaign was the financial state of the town, questioning the town’s spending on a number of projects, including Joseph Davis State Park, a property the town is essentially babysitting for the state.
Current Supervisor Steve Reiter has spent years now trying to build at the state park, from a new Audobon center to a drastically reduced campground and new boat docks along the waterfront. But Brochey said it’s time to take a new approach.
“I’m not going to rule out anything for advancement in the town,” he said. “I would like to see, somehow ... what can we do to see the state give us Joe Davis back. I have no problem putting money into (the park) if it’s town property. I like the idea of putting money into something Sanborn could use, the village could use. I want to see if it’s possible to get that land back to us.”
Now that the election is over, Brochey said he’ll turn his attention to finding the right staff to ensure his time as supervisor is a success. He’ll need to identify a deputy supervisor, as well as a finance director, and will soon be taking resumes and conducting interviews to find the right staff.
He said he knows surrounding himself with the right people is important to succeeding at any elected office position.
“I want to surround myself with people I trust,” he said.
One aspect bound to change in the town is the working relationship between the village and the town. Brochey’s time on the village board, about 18 months, could translate into a much better relationship with Mayor Terry Collesano than the one Reiter has maintained, which has become strained over the town’s past four years.
He’ll also be the third member of the board from the village, joining Michael Marra and Ronald Winkley.
“There’s going to be a great relationship between the village and the town,” he said. “But it’s not just going to be limited to just the village. I’m not just for the village, I’m for the whole community. I’m looking forward to doing what I can for the community.”
As for Palmer, the former Youngstown police chief said he was disappointed in the results but offered his congratulations to his opponent on the victory.
Palmer will maintain his position on the board despite his defeat, a position he’s held for seven years.
“It was a hard fought race,” he said. “I wish Dennis the best and I look forward to working with (him) on the town board. I wish him the best as supervisor.”
In other town elections, Marra and fellow Republican Councilman Alphonso Bax were both re-elected unopposed to the town board. Bax received 2,545 votes, while Marra totaled 2,544.
Contact reporter Timothy Chipp at 282-2311, ext. 2251 or follow on Twitter @timchipp.