BELFAST, NY – Nominating Petitions to run for office in the 2019 November General Election are due this week and besides the numerous local races that will be taking place there will also likely be a special election for New York’s 57th Senate District.
At the end of February former Senator Cathy Young (R-Olean) announced she would be resigning from her position, creating a vacancy in a district that covers Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, and Allegany Counties along with a portion of Livingston County.
Since then three candidates have received endorsements from party officials to run for the open seat in a special election, including Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello (R-Irving), who’s seeking the Republican, Conservative, and Independence Party lines on the ballot.
But Borrello is not the only person seeking the GOP endorsement. He is joined by long-time Allegany County Legislature Chairman Curtis Crandall (R-Belfast) who recently explained to WRFA why he wants to be the region’s next senator.
“We all know friends, family and neighbors that have left this state. The population is decreasing. And if you look at the reasons why they’re leaving and where they are going to, it has to do with the property taxes and the cost of doing business and living in New York,” Crandall said. “I really think that there could be a better way of doing business in New York. Reduce those costs and get more in line with some of the other states that people are moving to.”
Crandall said that during his time on the Allegany County Legislature he’s also seen first-hand how unfunded mandates on local governments have put pressure on local taxpayers, which is something he would work to remove if elected.
“A lot of the issues that we have to deal with at the county level are pushed down from the state,” Crandall said. “Several mandated programs, as a county we have to carry out and provide for, takes up a large portion of our revenue just for the state programs.”
Crandall also says that if he is elected, he’s not worried about working in a legislative Chamber that will be controlled by a majority of Democrats. He said his years of leadership experience in the Allagany County Legislature has prepared for dealing with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle.
“If you have a good idea or proposal that is good for the 57th District, it’s obviously good for New York State,” Cranadall said. “As long as I’ve been in the legislature – and I’m currently the longest-serving chairman and that’s only a year-to-year designation. You don’t get there by not getting along with others across the aisle or your colleagues.”
Crandall was first elected to the Allegany County Legislature in 2000 and was appointed as chairman of the legislature in 2006. Unlike Chautauqua County, Allegany County doesn’t have a county executive position, meaning the legislature chairman as viewed as the head of county government. Prior to serving in the legislature he was also a member of the Belfast Town Board.
In addition to public service, Crandall is a businessman with memorial companies in Allegany, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties. He said that’s allowed him to regularly travel the district, making him very familiar with the various communities across the western half of the Southern Tier, from the shores of Lake Erie in Chautauqua County to the county line Allegany County shares with Steuben County.
Crandall has been endorsed as a Senate candidate by his home county and he says he has received enough support to get a nomination for the Republican Party. As a result, he will likely square off against Borrello in a party primary, scheduled for June 25.
The winner of the likely primary in June will go on to face Democratic candidate Austin Morgan of Cattaraugus County in November.