Springville Journal Election 2012 coverage: New York State Assembly
Following the restructuring of New York’s political districts, many in the Southtowns, including residents of the town of Boston, have now found themselves in a new Assembly district, with new candidates’ running for election on Nov. 6.
Instead of being in District 146, which they shared with the towns of Hamburg, Collins, Concord, Sardinia, Colden and Holland, Boston residents are now located in District 147, which has removed Hamburg and added Wales, Aurora, Elma, Marilla and all of Wyoming County to its coverage area.
Incumbent District 146 Assemblyman Kevin Smardz originally announced that he would run to represent District 147, when incumbent District 146 Assemblyman Daniel Burling announced that he was not running for reelection.
This summer, Smardz announced that he would not be running for office. Christina Abt and David DiPietro are seeking election for the 147th District.
Christina Abt is the endorsed Democrat and Working Families candidate and won a primary challenge for the Independence Party endorsement.
Abt, 60, a resident of Eden, said, “When I was in high school, I got interested in politics and started running for class offices. Then, I decided to major in political science in college and continued to run for offices, at the college level.”
Abt was a media specialist for the Erie County Legislature; worked with Legislator Jeannie Chase of District 12, representing Boston, Brant, Eden, Evans and North Collins; worked with Legislator Robert Reynolds in District 12 and ran for the Eden Town Board as an independent candidate, since the main political parties had cross-endorsed the candidates.
Although Abt was not elected in Eden, she said that her campaign confirmed to her that she wanted to be involved in politics.
The candidate, who is running a grassroots campaign, has family ties in Wyoming County. “I feel I am well-qualified to represent the residents in both counties and I can connect with them, on a personal level,” she said. “Not only have I traveled back and forth between the two counties but, over the years, I have worked in many different venues, which gives me a great understanding of the needs of this diverse area.”
Abt has owned and operated farms; worked in the restaurant business; has done public relations work for local businesses; worked as a columnist for several newspapers; was co-host of Good Morning Buffalo for WECK 1230 AM; worked for WBFO/NPR Radio 88.7; was president of the Eden Chamber of Commerce; wrote a song honoring those on Flight 3407 “Love Knows No Boundaries;” has written for “Chicken Soup for the Soul;” was involved in the Eden Bicentennial celebration and raised two children, who have provided her with two grandchildren.
“People matter and we can make a change, if you go in with a positive mind set,” Abt added. “Our greatest natural resource here is the people and we will get it done.”
David DiPietro is endorsed by the Conservative Party and was the winner of the Republican primary, out of four candidates.
DiPietro, 52, a resident of East Aurora, served as a trustee for the village of East Aurora from 1999 – 2002 and was mayor of that village from 2002 – 2008. “When I became mayor, the village was in a huge financial mess,” he said. “In less than two years, I was able to turn that around and then we had tax cuts, for three straight years.”
While mayor, DiPietro initiated consolidation of building and code enforcement; consolidation of the water and sewer, merging one of the most expensive sewer departments in the state with the county and also negotiated with each of the unions in the village, to reach an agreement where employees now pay for a percentage of their health care plan, instead of taxpayers’ paying for it, 100 percent.
His other initiatives included privatizing garbage collection, cutting administrative salaries, reducing staffing, enacting open meetings, taking the board meetings into public venues for the residents and spearheading the village website and newsletter.
DiPietro said that he knows how to handle finances because he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in business administration from Wittenberg University and then worked at M&T Bank in the trust division. He also dealt with million dollar budgets, as mayor.
DiPietro’s father, Carlin DiPietro, started the family business, Sparkle Cleaners, in 1948 and DiPietro took over from his father in 1991.
Since then, he opened two satellite sites in East Aurora, while keeping the plant location in Amherst, doubling the number of employees and tripling his sales numbers.
“This is a heavy agricultural area and the farm owners are being over-regulated by the department of environment and conservation,” he said, adding that, “often, the rules from the DEC have good intentions for the more urban areas, but they are unrealistic for those agricultural businesses. We need to make sure the laws are fair and are not unreasonable.”
DiPietro said he would like to help get a stalled bill passed that would eliminate the New York state gas tax. “This would be a savings of about 38 cents on the gallon,” he said. “It would remove about $2 billion from our income for the state, but, with lower gas prices, it would bring in more tourists and drive up sales. We would also easily replace that money, if we address the flawed welfare program in this state.”
According to DiPietro, if the state would enact a law mandating people on welfare to be drug tested on a regular basis, the state would see a reduction of aid recipients.
“I don’t believe taxpayers should be paying for people to buy illegal drugs,” DiPietro said. “I believe that if we were able to get this testing done, we would see a $5 billion savings, as people would be removed from the rolls. There is so much waste in Albany, I believe I can make a difference.”
DiPietro lives in East Aurora with his wife Theresa, his two step-sons, Ryan and Danny, and his daughter, Ava.
148th Assembly DistrictJoseph Giglio Joseph Giglio, a resident of Gowanda, is running to represent the New York 148th Assembly District, on the Republican, Conservative and Independence tickets.
The 148th District includes Cattaraugus County. Giglio has been a member of the Assembly since he was first elected in 2005.
Giglio holds a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Prior to being deputy inspector general, Giglio served as a special assistant to then-State Attorney General Dennis Vacco. Giglio became a member of the Assembly, following the death of former New York State Asemblywoman Patricia McGee.
He and his wife Anne are the parents of four children.
Daniel Brown Daniel Brown, a resident of Great Valley, is running for a seat on the 148th New York State Assembly on the Democrat and Working Family tickets.
Brown is a dairy farmer and has been supervisor of the town of Great Valley for seven years. He was previously a member of the town’s planning board.
He is a member of the Cattaraugus County Agricultural and Farm Land Protection Board.
Brown and his wife Marcy, who is a sixth grade teacher in the Salamanca School District, own Snow Brook Organics, a dairy farm that uses technology in food production.