MAYVILLE – Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan (R-Bemus Point) will not be running for reelection in 2017.
On Wednesday night the Bemus Point Republican concluded his fourth state of the county address by announcing that he will not seek reelection for a second term in office.
“After careful consideration and close consultation with my wonderful wife, who’s always supported me in every endeavor, I have decided not to run for a second term for county executive,” Horrigan announced to a full legislative chamber filled with lawmakers, administrators, and residents.
The county executive said the primary reason for not seeking a second term is due to his wanting to spend more time with his family.
“At this time in our lives we need to be free to spend more times with the kids and the grand kids, who live in the panhandle of Florida. With this said, I want every resident of Chautauqua County to know that I’ll keep the throttles in afterburner, pushing hard for continued progress until the last day of my term as county executive,” Horrigan said, making a reference to his past role as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force.
Horrigan also said that in order for government to be successful, change and fresh ideas are necessary, which was another reason why he’s stepping aside to allow for new leadership.
“People say there’s more work to do, and there’s always more work to do,” Horrigan told media members following Wednesday’s meeting. “Who’s best suited to do that? I believe we have some talented people in Chautauqua County and I encourage good people to step forward, have a good campaign, and really work the issues – talk to the issues, talk to the media, flesh out ideas and then get on it.”
Horrigan was voted in as County Executive in the 2013 election. Prior to that he had served one-term as county legislator. Prior to public office, he served as executive Director of the Red Cross of Southwestern New York for 13 years. He also spent 27 years in the United States Air Force.
EFFORT TO IDENTIFY CANDIDATES NOW UNDERWAY
Horrigan’s announcement on Wednesday night means there will be an open county executive seat up for grabs when voters go to the polls in November for the 2017 Election. Because where still early in the year, no names for prospective candidates have come forward yet from either the Democratic or Republican side.
County Republican Party Committee Chairman and Legislator David Wilfong of Jamestown says the GOP will now start vetting possible candidates and he’s encouraging anyone interested in stepping forward.
“We’re going to be out looking qualified individuals. It really depends on the person’s background and his willingness to work with other people. I think that’s the key and that’s what Vince brought to the table. He really wasn’t against anything that he didn’t know about, so he did his homework. So I’m hoping we can find someone who can fit Vince’s shoes,” Wilfong said Wednesday following Horrigans announcement. “I’m sure there’s going to be people and I think you’ll probably see people come out soon, because it is a long process, especially at that level.”
For Democrats, party leaders have already started the process of recruiting potential candidates.
In a media release sent out earlier this month, Democratic Committee Chair Norman Green said, “My personal candidate recruitment focus is county executive, county clerk and county legislature… I welcome anyone to contact me about the public office opportunities and how to run. This is the time to make that decision, as the nomination process for November begins in early June.”
Anyone can contact Green via e-mail at chqdem @ gmail . com.
STATE OF THE COUNTY FOCUSES ON PAST ACCOMPLISHMENTS, REGIONAL SOLUTIONS
As for the state of the county, Horrigan spent his final address focusing on accomplishments from 2016 and the progress the county has made in following the Chautauqua 20/20 comprehensive plan. He had 15 different categories he focused on, ranging from Economic Development and Public Health to the Environment and Education.
As for 2017, Horrigan said regional solutions and shared services will be his top priority.
“I want to see regional solutions continue forward,” Horrigan said. “The reason why I say this is because I’m watching what’s happening to the North County Water District, where we went from $1 million in initial grants to $7 million, so the project is almost half funded by grants and people are jumping on board. Because when you think of where Dunkirk was and all the woes of the treatment plant and major upgrades, guess what? All that upgrade is going to be shared by all the residents up there.”
The complete state of the county message will be presented Thursday afternoon on WRFA during our Community Matters program, which begins at 5 p.m.
We’ll also have more details on the State of the County and initiatives Horrigan would like to focus on in 2017 during the WRFA Friday Morning News Update.