More candidates needed to run
This year, 12 of the 19 county legislators are running unopposed, that’s not even mentioning the array of other incumbents that typically go unopposed every election cycle. This has become a huge problem.
What can be done to fix this? I have a couple of solutions but, neither one will be easy.
The first is apathy. Do the citizens of Chautauqua County not care enough to run? Do they not care that our leaders are not being challenged? Do they not care about the state of our local government? We all need to start caring.
The second is the barrier that exists to opening the potential pool of candidates. Meeting are held on weekday evenings. The majority of events and debates are also held on weekday evenings. This limits the pool of candidates to first shift employees only.
I desperately wanted to run for county legislator this year. However, since I work second shift, I would need to use up all of my vacation time just to attend the Wednesday night meetings. I wouldn’t be able to attend debates or events in order to effectively campaign. Those vacation days are precious to a second shift worker with children who we otherwise don’t get enough time with.
What is the problem with holding Saturday or Sunday meetings? What’s the problem with holding debates on the weekend? If you’re willing to give up an entire day during the work week between your regular job and your job as a public servant, then you should be willing to give up half a weekend day instead.
Do we want more challengers? Do we want more people involved in our local government? Then we need to cater to workers of both shifts and not just one. There doesn’t seem to be enough in the first-shift crowd who care enough to run for office.
Dayton has other options
As a resident of the town of Dayton, we should be concerned regarding the upcoming election that two of the candidates are write-ins only. The other candidates have somehow been supported by all three parties.
There is something wrong with this picture.
To ensure our town’s future for better decision making, residents need to consider writing in the names of Brian Taber for highway superintendent and David Kohler for town supervisor in this election.
When he started his position, Taber took a $4,000 pay cut annually and — to his credit — became a working supervisor. This was unselfish and a benefit to town of Dayton residents.
He also continues to struggle with the hiring of town Highway Department employees. Once they come to Dayton and learn the trade, those workers move to higher paying jobs with the county or neighboring towns. So far, this number in the last two years, is four workers.
Brian has earned re-election by saving the town thousands of dollars over the years through a reduction in his salary and his hard work. He may even be the lowest paid of all Cattaraugus County town highway superintendents.
He has my vote.