Chautauqua County Legislator Lori Cornell recently addressed the Dunkirk Rotary Club at its regular meeting at the Shorewood Country Club. Cornell addressed the audience on various current issues facing county government and fielded questions from the members.
"As a representative from Jamestown and as a person who grew up in Dunkirk, I enjoy the opportunity to discuss issues involving local government and answering questions from interested community leaders in my hometown," Cornell said.
Cornell discussed the importance of not only representing a district and its interests, but also taking a countywide and regional approach to governance.
"Most often what's good for one part of the county or region is good for the county as a whole." As an example, she said the effort to "repower Dunkirk" is a countywide effort that she has been advocating in Jamestown. "The critical effort to support repowering the NRG plant in Dunkirk affects both ends of the county in terms of our tax base and economic development."
During the question and answer period, Rotary member Jay Warren shared a story of a Washington, D.C., trip by the Northern Chautauqua Catholic School, where Cornell attended and was a graduate of its charter class. While serving as a Congressional Staff Member, Cornell assisted the group of schoolchildren and their chaperones from her alma mater and provided what Warren described as a "VIP tour" of the Capitol, and how it exemplified her commitment to her hometown.
"The NCCS students and chaperones were so impressed that Lori would take time from her busy schedule to assist us during our tour of the nation's capital," Warren said.
Cornell is serving in her second term in the Chautauqua County Legislature representing the north side of the City of Jamestown. She is not running for a third term in order to seek the office of Chautauqua County Clerk.
As a County Legislator, Cornell led the effort to form a non-partisan commission to redraw county legislature districts and to improve declining housing in the county. She has been a longtime advocate for reducing the size of the county legislature, and has consistently opposed spending and tax increases.
In addition to serving nearly two terms in the County Legislature, she has held fulltime professional positions in municipal, county, state and the federal government. Also, over the last two years, she has assisted small businesses in marketing and sales in a consulting capacity. She has also served as an adjunct faculty member at Jamestown Community College. Cornell received her master's degree from the St. Bonaventure University School of Business and her bachelor's degree from the University of Notre Dame, where she was accepted into the Hesburgh Honors Program. She is a graduate of Dunkirk High School.
A Dunkirk native, Cornell resides in Jamestown where she has been actively involved in the Jamestown Schools PTA, Babe Ruth baseball, American Association of University Women, League of Women Voters, Business and Professional Women, and Mothers of Preschools. Her board service has included the Chautauqua County Land Bank, Family Service of the Chautauqua Region, Kiwanis Club, Housing Authority, and Jamestown Property Rehabilitation.