LAKEWOOD - Dr. Rudy Mueller, local physician and former minority leader of the Chautauqua County Legislature, will run for the New York state Assembly.
Mueller is running for the 150th District Assembly seat held by Andrew Goodell, R-Chautauqua County.
"New York state is in need of significant changes and under the leadership of Gov. Cuomo those changes are starting," Mueller said.
"In order to continue and for Chautauqua County to receive its fair share, we need an effective legislator and reformer in the assembly that is on the same team as the governor while reaching across the aisle to build coalitions. I did that in Mayville and will do the same in Albany," he added.
Mueller represented District 18 in the Chautauqua County Legislature for four years, working to eliminate health insurance benefits for part-time elected officials in the county and also calling for a reduction in the size of the legislature.
"Having Dr. Mueller as our Assemblyman would be a great addition to the state legislature,'' said Bill Parment, former 150th district Assemblyman. "I know Rudy and have worked with him. He understands our county and its unique needs and he will fight in Albany as he has fought for his constituents and patients for years."
Mueller is married to Dr. Diane Mueller, with whom he has five children. He received his engineering degree with honors from Case Western Reserve University in 1979, his M.D. from Ohio State University in 1982 and completed his residency in Internal Medicine from Northwestern University in 1985. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, a fellow of The American College of Physicians and is an assistant professor at the State University at Buffalo School of Medicine. He is also a founding partner in Jamestown Primary Care and has cared for patients at WCA Hospital for the past 20 years.
As an author, Mueller wrote the book "As Sick As It Gets." He has lectured across the United States about the high costs of health care and the lack of coverage for many Americans. He has appeared on national programs including ABC News, Primetime, NPR and Democracy Now. Testimony provided by Mueller has helped lead to new laws that have reduced unethical tactics employed by the drug industry. He also helped to expose corrupt Congressional campaign committee financing practices leading to an Emmy Award in News and Documentary for ABC World News Tonight in 2006.
Mueller is an elder at First Presbyterian Church in Jamestown, enjoys competing in triathlons and has completed two marathons.
DISAGREEMENT OVER WELFARE
As part of his announcement, Mueller said he disagrees with Goodell's recent characterization of New York as becoming the welfare capital of the nation.
"I believe it's vital for the people of Chautauqua County to receive intelligent, competent and farsighted representation," said Mueller. "We have many major problems but unlike my opponent, I would never label our county 'the welfare capital of the world'. In Albany, I will bring independent thinking, a positive attitude and do my best to attract new businesses and jobs to our county. I am offended by Mr. Goodell's misrepresentation of Chautauqua County."
Mueller is referring to a speech that Assemblyman Andy Goodell made to the New York State Assembly in April addressing the proposed 10 percent increase in welfare benefits.
"On the welfare issue we have a fundamental disagreement," said Assemblyman Andy Goodell, R-Chautauqua County. "I oppose the 10 percent increase in welfare benefits that was pushed by the Democratic majority in the Assembly for a number for reasons. I believe that we should be bringing those benefits in line with the national average and we should also be trying to bring our business climate up to the national average. Unfortunately, New York state currently ranks 49th in the business tax climate, while we rank second in the amount of welfare benefits that we offer. Our county and our state would be much stronger if we could bring our business climate closer to the national average."
Instead of the 10 percent cash hike, Goodell pushed in favor of an expansion of the youth employment program in order to help at-risk youths gain employment.
"I strongly support the efforts of the Chautauqua County Department of Social Services to require every able-bodied recipient to work in order to return something to the local taxpayers and the community that pays for these benefits as quickly as possible," Goodell said. "According to the 2010 Urban Institute Welfare databook, a 10 percent increase in welfare would result in New York state having the second highest welfare benefits in the country. According to the monthly statistics published by the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, the per capita cost of welfare in Chautauqua County is one of the highest in the entire state. When I brought this issue up to the Assembly in April however, I stated that New York state as a whole, not Chautauqua County specifically, would become the welfare capital of the nation."