Niagara Gazette — Niagara County Democrats have thrown their support behind a registered Republican who is planning to take on a veteran Niagara County lawmaker this year.
Members of the Democratic Committee announced that they are backing the candidacy of Sean O'Laughlin, who is challenging 2nd District legislator and Niagara County Legislature Chairman Bill Ross, C-Wheatfield.
O’Laughlin is a Town of Wheatfield resident and the district includes his hometown and a large portion of the Town of Lewiston.
“We are stuck in a rut in Niagara County and this must be changed,” O’ Laughlin said in a statement released to the media.
“My opponent has been chairman of the legislature longer than anyone,” O’Laughlin said, referring to Ross,” and we have the distinction of being the second highest taxed county in the nation. We must change that direction and restore the county as a place where businesses want to be.”
O’Laughlin said he wants better use of tax incentives administered through the Niagara County industrial Development Agency. He also advocates for more programs to support agriculture in the county.
“We need to be more creative and supportive of farming in Lewiston, Wheatfield and throughout the county,” O’Laughlin argues. “Growth in agriculture and related businesses has great, untapped potential here.”
O’Laughlin is presently a registered Republican and is also seeking that party’s nomination in the upcoming primary election.
“Good policies are far more important to me than party politics” O’Laughlin said.
O’Laughlin has lived in Wheatfield for 30 years and he and his wife, Marianne, raised three children there. He has worked for Unifrax, formally part of the Carborundum Co., for 37 years.
“I’m fortunate to have been with the same organization for all those years,” O’Laughlin said. “But there are few of those jobs left in Niagara County. We need to change that and reduce taxes to attract new business and provide a better future for our kids.”
O’ Laughlin has an associate’s degree in business administration from Niagara County Community College, a bachelor’s degree in economics from the State University College at Buffalo and masters in business administration from Niagara University. He is a member of St. Vincent de Paul Parish. For 20 years, he worked on fundraising campaigns for United Way of Niagara. He has been long active in programs for Niagara Cerebral Palsy (NCP) serving as a board member and treasurer. His work was recognized with the NCP Family of the Year Award in 2011 and the Humanitarian of the Year Award in 2012.