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ENDORSEMENT Seeing strides under Rosas

Two years ago, current Third Ward Councilman Shaun Heenan ran a quiet campaign against incumbent Adelino Gonzalez. There were very few lawn signs. He did not attend the League of Women Voters debate. He also did very little in the terms of campaign literature, especially through this newspaper.

Heenan ended up winning the seat by more than 200 votes with a combination of name recognition and a sentiment that voters wanted change.

His campaign for Dunkirk mayor is following the same formula, though he has been more vocal and critical of his opponent this time around during council meetings and in recent months, especially in regard to the recent Great Lakes Grand Prix event and contract.

He’s not wrong there. He also is correct when he talks about spending by this administration. Under incumbent Mayor Wilfred Rosas, the latest proposed budget has topped $24 million. This for a city with a population of 12,000 residents that also is receiving a state subsidy in the form of transition aid from Albany to help with the 2016 closing of the NRG Energy Inc. plant, which when running was the highest taxpayer in Chautauqua County.

With or without NRG — and the state funds — fiscal problems for the city will not be going away no matter who wins the race for mayor this year. That being stated, we endorse Rosas for another four years.

During his current term, Rosas has been committed to turning the city around by not being just a local voice. He has made connections from Buffalo to Albany and New York City, which has helped bring in projects and state funds. Rosas also has spearheaded some of the recent job prospects here.

When Democrats in Albany were not ready to sign off on $200 million for the Athenex project in 2016, Rosas took a ride and met personally with key players to get the deal done. He also has worked behind the scenes with Fieldbrook Foods and Wells Enterprises, which was significant in the company’s $87 million expansion plan.

Dunkirk’s venture into the North County Water District also happened because of his efforts as a councilman and mayor. Heenan, while serving on the County Legislature, was too silent on this important project.

But Rosas does have his share of flaws. His critics note his brother, Hector, who serves as special events coordinator can be abrasive and too full of himself. There’s also a question of transparency, but that has unfortunately become the new normal in the local, state and federal governments.

Take those issues out of the equation, the city of Dunkirk has made some strides in the last four years despite losing NRG. That is no small accomplishment.

Agree or disagree?

The OBSERVER encourages letters to the editor regarding local and state races. Letters regarding the election must be submitted by 5 p.m. Oct. 29. We will be publishing letters on the election Nov. 2-3. Any questions can be directed to jdagostino@observertoday.com or 366-3000, ext. 401.

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