CHERRY CREEK - Chautauqua County Legislator Robert Stewart has announced his campaign for re-election.
"Serving in the legislature has been a challenging and rewarding experience," says Stewart of his first term as a county legislator.
Among the rewarding experiences for Stewart has been his work to help develop the Equestrian Trail project. He has worked with Mark Geise of the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency as well as local business owner Jack Vanscoter of Cockaigne Ski Resort and trail advocate Linda Johnson to help move the trail plan forward.
"The economic impact of the Equestrian Trail will be a windfall for all of Chautauqua County and especially the towns of Cherry Creek and Ellington," he said
According to Stewart, the future plans are to expand the trail system throughout the Chautauqua County region and into Cattaraugus County, which will improve property values as well as expand tourism business.
As a snowmobiler, Stewart saw the benefit of the Equestrian Trail on the maintenance of the existing trail system. Also as an avid hunter and outdoorsman, the protection of Second Amendment rights is important to Stewart. In the spring of 2010, one of Stewart's very first actions in office was to introduce a motion to oppose New York State's oppressive gun control legislation.
Recently, Stewart, a veteran himself, has been working with the Office for the Aging, the Sheriff's Department, the David L. Woodburn Chapter Vietnam Veterans and Legislator Tami Downey on the Seniors at Risk Identification Program. The program is designed to help first responders locate missing senior citizens with memory issues such as Alzheimer's Disease and dementia.
Agriculture is a driving force for our economy, according to Stewart, and the viability of the business is critical to the survival of Chautauqua County.
"Our county has lost a great deal of manufacturing jobs yet we are among the leaders for Agri-Business in the state. Therefore we need to protect that industry from over-taxation and overregulation," he said
When it comes to the county budget, Stewart supports making a bold statement to the leadership in Albany when it comes to unfunded mandates. Therefore, he joins County Executive Greg Edwards, the TEA Party Patriots and the Chamber of Commerce in backing the idea of withholding the nearly $600,000 weekly Medicaid payments to New York State.
"We keep taking it on the chin from the bullies in Albany and it's time for us to stand up for ourselves," Stewart commented.
He also referenced that 90 percent of Chautauqua County's budget is mandated by the state largely for entitlement spending.
"It is my intention to continue to fight these mandates. Imagine how much lower our property taxes would be and how much better off our seniors, veterans, and youth would be if we could keep more of this money in our county," Stewart said.
Stewart is a lifelong resident of Chautauqua County and has lived in the Ellington area for over 47 years. He and his wife of 35 years, Bonnie raised three children and currently reside in Cherry Creek. Stewart works as an energy consultant for Noco Energy Corp and is a veteran of the Air Force where he received a commendation medal for service above and beyond the call of duty. In addition to being a county legislator, Stewart also served on the Ellington Town Board for 4 years.
Stewart concluded by saying, "It has been an enlightening experience this past 20 months. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the people of Chautauqua County and I hope the voters of district 7 will continue to let me be their voice in the legislature."