Incumbent Republican Joseph Giglio is being challenged by Democratic Conewango Supervisor Travis Lecceadone for the149th Assembly District, which includes parts of Chautauqua and Allegany counties and all of Cattaraugus County.
Although Lecceadone alleged Giglio has ignored the area he represents, Giglio said he has worked for change during his five years in the Assembly and sees it "on the horizon."
"Giglio's been on vacation on the tax dime," alleged Lecceadone. "It's time for an assemblyman willing to work for this district."
Giglio said he has been here, however, adding he has assisted communities he represents including Gowanda during flooding and seeking Federal Emergency Management Agency funds, while applauding the rebuilding of Tri-County Hospital. Giglio said he is proud of his work on that, along with Olean's Child Advocacy Center, its sewer district, civil confinement, child predator laws, along with bringing new ideas to Albany such as a Medicaid inspector general he said came from his experience fighting abuse and criminal activity.
Lecceadone alleged, however, Giglio is not from the area and does not have knowledge of what people
in the district have to deal with daily. For instance, Lecceadone said dairy farmers are in "crisis," and Lecceadone thinks they should have received more help from Giglio.
In addition to that, Lecceadone said, being from a minority party has limited what Giglio can do.
Giglio said he wants to remain in the Assembly, where there is more work to be done.
He said he would like to continue work to reduce taxes and spending. In order to do that, he said, changes have to be made to the Assembly's rules so "three men in a room (state legislative leaders and the governor) no longer are in control of spending plans.
"We have to take power away from the speaker of the assembly," said Giglio, who said he wants to "shine the light" on to what is going on in Albany so people can understand how government there works.
"I want transparency in government," he said, adding he would also like to help get rid of regulations he thinks impede small business.
Giglio was first elected to the state Assembly in a 2005 special election and was re-elected in 2006 and 2008. He serves on the Assembly Corrections Committee, the Aging, Racing and Wagering and Children and Families committees. Prior to serving in the Assembly, Giglio was director of operations with the Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Department and as the state Deputy Inspector General in charge of the Western New York Office.
"The Southern Tier and Western New York need a strong advocate in the state Assembly, and I plan to continue my work on behalf of the residents of the 149th district," he said, adding that work will be done "whether it be standing up for our small businesses, our farms and agriculture operations, supporting sportsmen or helping families looking to make ends meet in the face of rising taxes and fees."
"I pledge to be on the front lines in this constant struggle to bring the Southern Tier the resources we need to prosper in these difficult economic times," said Giglio.
"New York state is out of control," said Lecceadone. He said there should be no more tax increases, is concerned with Medicaid spending and expenses of it being "thrown on the backs of property owners." He has spoken out against political bickering, encourages job attraction and retention and plans to stay involved in agriculture, manufacturing and small business concerns while promoting economic stability.
He also voiced concern about how state government is handling matters with the Seneca Nation of Indians.
"What the state of New York is doing is complete nonsense," he said about state Gov. David Paterson's refusal to accept payments by the nation to local municipalities who get a share of money Senecas pay to the state for hosting casinos. A disagreement between state and nation officials has led to the payments not being made to the state, with nation officials offering the funds directly to municipalities.
Lecceadone has served as Conewango supervisor since 2008. He is vice commander and chaplain of Randolph Legion Post 181, a eucharistic minister and religious education teacher for Our Lady of Loreto Catholic Church in Falconer, who received the educator of the year award from the Diocese of Buffalo in 2006-07. He is president of the local Holy Name Society chapter and lives in Conewango with his wife, Dolly, and two sons.
He is a member of Randolph and Cattaraugus County's Democratic Committees, the county Town Supervisors' Association, is an honorable member of the state Sheriff's Association and is a member of the Order of Sons of Italy.
He has worked on farms, in agriculture and is a milk hauler for Clymer's Heil Transportation who received securities and criminal justice certificates from Ellicottville BOCES and attended the Randolph School District.
He received police certification from Mercyhurst College and worked for the Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Department as a corrections officer and is a lifelong resident of the district he seeks to represent.