Special to the Gazette
Niagara Gazette — Niagara Falls resident David J. Zajac, a Republican, announced his intention to run against longtime incumbent Democrat Dennis Virtuoso for the 6th District legislative seat in this year’s election.
The district is located exclusively in Niagara Falls and has a better than 2-to-1 Democratic plurality.
Zajac, 22, recently graduated from Erie Community College with an associate’s degree in criminal justice/law enforcement. He works for the Niagara Falls Board of Education as a safety officer.
A first-time candidate for public office, Zajac says he is focused on quality of life issues as well as improving the business climate in the community.
Zajac said he believes that cultivating a positive business atmosphere will lead to more private capital investment in the city, which will translate into more job opportunities for the people of Niagara Falls.
“It is time to put people before politics,” he said. “My family’s business, Zajac Funeral Home, has been serving the people of this city since 1949. I learned at a very young age that small business is the heart and soul of this community.”
Zajac said he wants to work closely with the Niagara County Department of Economic Development if he’s elected to represent his neighbors in county government.
“I will work tirelessly to improve the business climate in Niagara Falls so the men and women of this community who’ve invested in this city can thrive,” he said. “I believe that creating a welcoming atmosphere for new families to come invest in our city is just as significant.” With his recently earned degree in criminal justice and employment as a safety officer, Zajac intends to work closely with city, state, and federal officials to address rising crime issues as well as housing blight in the city.
“Niagara Falls is a wonderful city with great history,” said Zajac. “Unfortunately, our housing stock has been allowed to deteriorate at an extremely alarming rate. This has created a ripple effect throughout much of our city that has led to higher crime rates, increased drug activity, and more sex offenders living in Niagara Falls.”
Zajac said that the quality of life issues are the result of a failure of local government and a betrayal of local residents. “Nobody deserves to feel as though they cannot safely walk their neighborhood at any time of day or sleep peacefully at night,” he said.
Zajac said he believes better days are ahead if strong leaders are elected.
“When tough times knock you down you must simply get back up, brush yourself off, and push forward¦” he said. “I want to be part of the revitalization of Niagara Falls.”
A kick-off election fundraiser for Zajac will be held at 6 p.m. today at Gadawski's Restaurant, 1445 Falls St. Tickets are $30 per person. The event will feature drinks, raffles and more. For more information, contact Mike Fitzpatrick at 803-9166.
Zajac's opponent, Virtuoso, recently announced he will run for re-election and is employed as the acting director of Code Enforcement for the city of Niagara Falls.