ENDORSEMENT: Seeking voices in the Legislature

Chautauqua County legislators seem to languish in anonymity for two years until an election. That is because many of this 19-member group are big on maintaining the status quo.

Think about this. In the last six years, there have been no major decisions by this body. The only thing it has done is increase spending on a regular basis while raising your property taxes the last two years.

That’s too easy.

County Legislative chambers is often the most quiet and safest place for an elected official to be. There is rarely any controversy — and very few tough choices.

That has spurred an enthusiastic Susan Parker to a Democratic primary challenge of three-term incumbent Christine Starks for the seat of Legislative District 4, which makes up Fredonia and the town of Pomfret. Starks has a record of service with the Legislature as the ranking member for the Planning and Economic Development and Administrative Services Committees, and has participated in the budget and hiring processes. She also has been endorsed by the Working Families Party.

However, when it comes to being a voice for constituents on governmental issues she rarely stands out. Representing two main municipalities in the village and town, she has barely attended those meetings or taken a proactive stands on major issues that include the potential relocation of Brooks Memorial Hospital from Dunkirk or the ongoing water crisis.

Parker, as a candidate, already seems more dialed in. She led a community effort to clean up the grounds of the historic — but empty White Inn — that has the look of an eyesore. In addition, she appears to want to offer solutions for major problems facing this region.

“We need to bring new energy and different ideas to bear,” she said. “As I campaign in our community for the June primary; and if successful, continue the campaign to the November election, I aim to put together a coalition of people who are more interested in getting things accomplished.”

That statement is more lip service than we currently receive from legislators in Mayville, who are all far too comfortable in their positions.

Early voting for the primary begins Saturday. All county residents deserve stronger representation than what we are getting from legislators. Parker, in Fredonia, has the ability to lead that fresh start.


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