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GOP CAUCUS TAPS SIMONSON FOR RE-ELECTION

Niagara County Legislator Lee Simonson, R-Lewiston, has been designated for re-election as chairman of the 19-member Legislature, according to GOP Majority Leader Philo J. Brooks of Ransomville.

Following a Republican caucus, Brooks announced Wednesday that Simonson would be re-elected chairman at the Legislature's reorganization meeting on Jan. 2. Republicans control the Legislature by a 11-8 majority.

Simonson, 37, was first elected the the Legislature in 1973 and he is serving his ninth two-year term. He became chairman in January 1990 when the GOP took control of the Legislature from the Democrats for the first time in 14 years.

Brooks said Simonson was "almost singularly responsible for a new spirit of cooperation and communication" in county government.

In one of his first acts as chairman, Simonson founded the LOVE Task Force. LOVE is an acronym for Life is Opportunities, Values and Education. The 130-member task force of leaders in government, business, education, law enforcement, community service, labor, clergy and the media is trying to reduce the welfare roll and to create a drug free county by the year 2000. Since March, Home Relief welfare in Niagara County has been reduced 15 per cent and an experimental anti-drug program called Niagara Knights has become the first late night recreation program for teen-agers in New York State, Brooks said.

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