Voters in Chautauqua County have a clear choice between the two men running for the state Assembly - incumbent Republican Andrew Goodell and Democrat challenger Rudy Mueller.
Rudy Mueller is an idealist and - we mean this in a good way - a gadfly with a lot of energy. He is a physician and founding member of Jamestown Primary Care. You first heard about him in the news a decade ago with the publication of his book about the failings of our health care system.
Mueller served two two-year terms in the County Legislature where he goaded and prodded his colleagues to eliminate taxpayer-funded health insurance for part-time legislators and to cut the size of the legislature. He also consistently voted for lower sales taxes, saving consumers money and giving the county's retail businesses a fighting chance to compete with Pennsylvania.
Goodell is pragmatic and methodical. He has experience running his own private sector business - a law firm in Jamestown. He was county executive in Chautauqua County for eight years and so voters knew what they were getting when they elected him to the state Assembly two years ago: A tireless and brilliant lawmaker who is able to frame issues in such detailed, precise and irrefutable terms that solutions and answers are obvious.
Goodell sees bipartisan bridge building as a key to fashioning a healthy future for New York state. He recounts a bill he pushed in the Assembly to amend Medicaid costs for counties. He said the legislation had 60 co-sponsors - including more than a dozen Democrats in the Assembly. Even though the majority Democrats did not enact the bill, Goodell said, Gov. Andrew Cuomo put the legislation in his budget.
"It's all about reaching across the table," he says.
As a minority member in the Democrat-dominated state Assembly, Goodell serves as an able partner to influential Republican Sen. Catharine Young of Olean in the Senate. He talks of bringing Democrats to the table who need both houses to enact legislation and who recognize his partnership with Young - and we add, in turn, Young's partnership on many issues with Gov. Cuomo.
The synopsis of what Goodell stands for in this election is what we would expect from his well-established record in public office: cutting taxes at the state and local level by reforming welfare and Medicaid, cutting expensive regulations on local governments as well as business and making the state a friendly place to do business.
While Rudy Mueller has a lot of energy and ideas, Goodell is clearly the right choice in this election to continue being a voice of reason and common sense in Albany.
We urge you to re-elect Andy Goodell to the state Assembly on Tuesday.