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KENMORE TRUSTEE MICHELE IANNELLO TO CHALLENGE SWANICK FOR COUNTY SEAT

Kenmore Trustee Michele Iannello said Tuesday she will challenge Erie County Legislator Charles M. Swanick in November, setting up the second serious election in a row in the 10th District.

Iannello, a Democrat in her second year on the Village Board, said the county budget crisis propelled her to announce her candidacy Tuesday evening at the Tonawanda Municipal Building. One of the key listings on her resume, she said, will be "taxpayer."

"I'm bringing some basic knowledge to the table," she said. "I am an ordinary taxpayer with services being taken away and still paying the same taxes as last year. Something is wrong here."

Iannello, 45, is a paralegal with the downtown firm of Block, Colucci, Notaro and Laing. She acknowledges she will face one of the Legislature's most durable figures in Swanick, who has served in County Hall since 1979. Indeed, Swanick made history in 2003 when he won re-election on two minor party lines after switching to the GOP and then losing the Republican primary.

"It will be a hard campaign, and Chuck is a good campaigner," she said. "I just plan to work very, very hard."

Minor party support could again prove crucial in the November contest. Though she expects to secure the Democratic endorsement, gaining Independence and Conservative backing could prove a challenge this year after Swanick won on those lines in 2003. Still, she said she will seek the Independence endorsement, as well as Working Families backing.

Iannello is engaged to be married in June to Dennis E. Ward, Erie County's Democratic elections commissioner.

Meanwhile, a newcomer to politics has announced his candidacy for the 8th District seat currently held by Raymond K. Dusza, who is retiring at year's end.

Kris Powers, a Depew resident and a service operations manager with Tops Markets, said he is running to give county government "a new perspective."

Powers, a 1995 graduate of Maryvale High School who studied business at Buffalo State College, counts solid fiscal abilities as one of his major strengths -- skills honed on a career that also includes working eight years with Wegmans and owning and operating Deniro's Pizzeria in Depew for four years.

"No one knows what our Legislature will face next year, but I will be asking the tough questions regarding the budget and giving us solutions rather than excuses," he said in a prepared statement.

Powers, who is 28 and single, hopes to run as a Democrat.

e-mail: rmccarthy@buffnews.com

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