Special to the OBSERVER
BUFFALO - With two key endorsements, Leonard Roberto is forging ahead with his campaign to unseat Brian Higgins for the 27th District Congressional seat in the upcoming 2010 election.
In the past two weeks Roberto received the endorsements of both the Erie County Republican Party and the Erie County Conservative Party to run against Rep. Higgins, the incumbent Democrat, for the seat. This was no small feat in the crowded 2010 election cycle, as Roberto quietly unified the party endorsements despite being challenged by two other candidates (Jill Rowland and Paul Ritacco).
Roberto, a local businessman, is also the founder of Primary Challenge, a reform group he started in 2005.
"I believe that these two endorsements represent a new direction for the conservative movement in Western New York," Roberto said shortly after the Republican endorsement was made on May 30, 2010.
"For years, I have been working to hold the political parties in our State to the conservative principles of smaller government, less taxes and spending cuts. Now, all the work that I have done - with the help of so many other concerned Western New Yorkers - is being recognized as the right direction for local conservatives and Republicans running for national office."
Roberto said he believes the most pressing issue for Western New Yorkers is attracting good jobs to the area, and the surest path to doing that is tax cuts, spending cuts, and limiting the growth of the federal government.
"Western New Yorkers know that it has been liberal policies which have been responsible for our area's economic decline," Roberto said. "Therefore, the fact that Brian Higgins has become a consistent vote for the agenda of President Obama and Nancy Pelosi calls into question the myth that he has done a lot for our area. Brian Higgins has not been a consistent advocate in the U.S. Congress for the kind of policies our region needs which will create long-term job growth."
"Our region has one of the heaviest tax burdens in the country," Roberto continued, "and the result has been devastating. Businesses continue to leave the area and our children then follow. The government is now our area's largest employer, and from the perspective of a taxpaying businessman, I can tell you, that is an unsustainable situation. It is difficult for me to see how the tax increases included in Obamacare and the huge debt created by the Democrats in the last two Congresses, will help our area at all. And Brian Higgins must be held responsible for his voting record."
Roberto added that the huge tax increases on health related businesses included in Obamacare will put a huge burden on any entrepreneur who seeks to capitalize on Buffalo's medical corridor.
"I represent a real choice in this election for the people of Western New York." Roberto said. "Brian Higgins once boasted that he was 'the most independent and conservative Democrat in New York.' However, I will be the true fiscal conservative in this race, and I have pledged to repeal Obamacare and replace it with common sense reform. I will also work to end the TARP and use the unused funds to pay down some of our national debt thus returning some of it to the taxpayer."
"And, I will not vote for any more stimulus programs" Roberto added. "The government does not and cannot create private sector jobs; it especially should not try to create jobs on the backs of the taxpayers or future generations."
Roberto also said the key to economic growth is a system of lower taxes and less regulation, and he is committed to looking for solutions to economic problems based on free market solutions.
The new Chairman of the Erie County Republican Party, Nick Langworthy, was pleased with the choice of Roberto to run against Brian Higgins.
"Lenny is a very principled conservative and his real world experience as a small business-owner means he knows what it takes to create jobs. He understands that the economic challenges that we face can not be solved by the growing government and raising taxes," Langworthy said. "Lenny will work to end the status quo, tax and spend policies in Washington."