Niagara Gazette —
Erie County Legislator Lynn Marinelli stepped down from her seat Wednesday after Gov. Andrew Cuomo appointed her to a position with Empire State Development.
Marinelli, who has been a legislator since 1997, represented a district stretching from the University at Buffalo's South Campus through Tonawanda, after her district was reapportioned in 2012.
Erie County Democratic Committee Chairman Jeremy Zellner said his members will hold a weighted vote "fairly soon" before a selecting is made to replace Marinelli and brought to the Democrats Legislative minority caucus, who will make the final determination.
Marinelli was the Democrats most senior member on the Legislature, but will now serve as director of Intergovernmental Relations with the state agency's Western New York office, under the direction of another former politician, Sam Hoyt.
In a statement released Wednesday, Cuomo said that Marinelli will act as a regional liaison between business, government and the community, and cited her time as a member of various committees with links to economics such as the Erie County Industrial Development Agency.
Marinelli said she was excited to take the new position and hoped to use the momentum of recent developments in Western New York as an extension of her time on the Legislature.
"The role is a little bit of a cornucopia, facilitating discussions, tracking different economic legislation and budgeting items," she said, in an interview on Wednesday. "Just helping to shape the agenda and working on different plant. All the things I've been doing in a different capacity."
Prior to her time on the Legislature, Marinelli said she worked as a writer for United Press International and held a public relations position with the Buffalo Bisons.
When asked about how her experience translates to economic success, with a slumping populace in Tonawanda and the designation of Buffalo as the third-poorest city in the country, Marinelli pointed to the recent resurgence of activity in the city's downtown corridor, which she credited to Cuomo.
"The governor is giving so much of his vision to this area and backing that up by dedicating his time," she said. "There is so much going on, there are several projects underway and more that are coming."
She added that tourism, life sciences and advancing manufacturing are among Cuomo's economic focus.
Marinelli, who said she has resigned her various board posts, also thanked her constituents for supporting her during her 17 years on the Legislature.
"It's truly a privilege, I never took that for granted," she said. "I love public service and I will still be doing public service, just a different aspect of it."
Erie County Legislature Chairman John Mills thanked Marinelli for her service during there eight years working together.
"I believe she will do an outstanding job in her new role on behalf of the residents of Erie County," he said.