THE ISSUE Four candidates are running in a special election to represent the 26th Congressional District, which includes Greece.
OUR VIEW Democrat Kathy Hochul demonstrates the best grasp of the issues facing Greece residents.
The unexpected resignation this winter of former Rep. Christopher Lee, R-Amherst, left his sprawling western New York district, which includes the town of Greece, up for grabs.
A special election on May 24 will decide who will serve the remainder of Lee’s term, which runs through next year. What happens after that is anybody’s guess, since New York will be losing two congressional seats as a result of the 2010 Census, and Greece’s new representative — barring any more surprise departures — will be the shortest-serving among the state’s delegation.
But first things first. District voters this month will choose from among four candidates: Republican state Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, Democratic Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul, millionaire Tea Party candidate Jack Davis and Green Party candidate Ian Murphy.
Greece residents would be best served by Kathy Hochul.
Murphy declined to take part in the Greece Post’s endorsement interviews. Davis is an idea guy with a lot of spunk but, like many business leaders who turn an eye toward politics, he does not demonstrate a penchant for consensus-building.
Corwin is a knowledgeable candidate who pledges to work across the aisle. But her knowledge of local issues was not as deep as Hochul’s. In addition, Corwin gave the impression that business interests would be first among equals among her constituency. A question about Medicare was answered almost entirely through the prism of how health care costs affect business. Absolutely, they do. But they affect children and single parents and the elderly as well.
Hochul was well-versed on the issues facing Greece, from the police force to town government, and vowed to meet with the school district’s new superintendent, Barbara Deane-Williams, to discuss educational priorities.
She also has a demonstrated record of political independence. While Corwin worked with Democratic colleagues to get bills to the floor — a must in the Democratic-controlled state Assembly — Hochul took on her own party leader. When former Gov. David Paterson offered up an ill-conceived proposal to force New Yorkers to buy new license plates, she was among his vocal opponents.
When we endorsed Republican Lee last October, we cited his attention to hometown issues and his relative lack of partisanship.
Of those seeking to succeed him, Kathy Hochul offers the best hope for offering the type of close-to-home attention and independent thinking that would most benefit the 26th District in general, and the town of Greece in particular.