Legislator, businessman enters county exec race

OBSERVER Photo by Jimmy McCarthy. County legislator George Borrello announced his candidacy for Chautauqua County executive in Silver Creek on Wednesday. Borrello was joined by family, friends, top Republican leaders and some local Democratic leaders.

SILVER CREEK — Running for Chautauqua County executive was a thought four years ago for George Borrello, a county legislator who’s represented the Hanover and Silver Creek area for the past seven years.

The time wasn’t right, however, for Borrello as he continued a private business career in the hospitality industry. But four years later, Borrello says he’s ready to lead the county and retrieve the baton from outgoing County Executive Vince Horrigan.

Surrounded by family, friends and top Republicans, Borrello, R-Hanover, announced his candidacy for county executive Wednesday in Silver Creek. His speech came with pledges that included visiting and conducting surveys with 100 businesses in the beginning stages of his administration to understand challenges and future outlook. Borrello told attendees a 10-point, “Elevating Chautauqua County” plan will be released in the coming days detailing how he’d build off the successes of Horrigan’s administration.

“I ran for county legislator because I wanted to get things done,” Borrello said. “I’ve always wished I could do more.”

Borrello said he will retire from his private business career to focus on the needs of county residents full-time. He said it wasn’t a hard decision to make due to his passion for the area. Borrello said he made the decision to run after Horrigan told him he wouldn’t run for another term.

“He wanted me to take his place so we could continue the great work,” Borrello said. “When he made that commitment to me, I said I was going to do whatever it took to figure out a way to transition myself out of the private business and dedicate myself full time to public office.”

It was August 2009 when Horrigan first met Borrello. At the time, Horrigan was in Silver Creek and Sunset Bay helping flood victims as director for the Red Cross. Horrigan said he knew then how much Borrello cared for the community as he handed over a check to the Red Cross.

“I’ve watched him while in the legislature and as county executive,” Horrigan said. “He has this in his gut. George is motivated and I’m convinced as I step away in seven months that there’s a dynamite leader that’s going to keep Chautauqua County on the move.”

Born and raised in Silver Creek and Fredonia, Borrello graduated from Fredonia High School in 1985 and went on to graduate from Purdue University in 1989. He founded Top-Shelf Marketing in his early 20s and grew the business into a nationally-recognized supplier in the hospitality industry.

He merged his company with Progressive Specialty Glass Company and became vice president of marketing. Borrello is also involved with beachfront hospitality and tourism business in Sunset Bay.

During his years as legislator, Borrello has been an advocate for improvements to Lake Erie through dredging and area waterways through various water quality improvement projects. He’s also been a proponent of government reduction through his vote to downsize county government from 25 to 19 legislators and his work on the Regional Solutions Commission.

Borrello has taken a stern stance publicly against the development of wind turbine projects, including one being developed in his district.

With the campaign underway, Borrello said his next step will be unveiling his plans to the people to get their feedback.

“As things go along, there’s going to be some modifications,” Borrello said. “One of the things you learn in business is you have to lead, but you also have to listen to the people who know what’s best. I will be talking to folks throughout the county so they can explain what it is they feel is most important to them and how it’ll fit into the plan.”

Joining Borrello in his announcement were wife Kelly Borrello, U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning; state Sen. Cathy Young, R-Olean; Assemblyman Andy Goodell, R-Jamestown; Todd Johnson, Hanover town supervisor; and Nick Piccolo, Silver Creek mayor. Tom Tarpley, a Westfield resident, is serving as Borrello’s campaign manager.

Send comments to editorial@observertoday.com