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Kent, Hawley make case for election

Two candidates seeking the 139th Assembly District seat met during a forum in the Albion Visitor Center sponsored by the Orleans County Chapter of the League of Women Voters on Thursday night.

Gary Kent of Albion, a Democrat, is challenging Republican Steven M. Hawley of Batavia for the seat that represents portions of Orleans, Genesee, Monroe and Niagara counties.

Voting will be from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday in the special election for the seat vacated by Charles Nesbitt.

Hawley, 58, also endorsed by the Independence and Conservative parties, hopes the state will return an estimated $2 billion in tax surplus to voters. He is a former Genesee County legislator.

"It is the taxpayers' money, and it should be returned to taxpayers," Hawley said.

Kent, 61, wants the surplus used to cut existing state debt. He is a former Orleans County legislator. "This business of passing debt on to our grandchildren has got to stop," he said.

Kent said he is against new vehicle user fees, because he says they are a greater burden on seniors and the poor.

Hawley said he hopes to work with other lawmakers to gain approval for additional tax relief for residents totaling $1.7 billion statewide.

Hawley is a graduate of the University of Toledo with a bachelor's degree in education. He served seven years in the Ohio Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserve, earning the rank of first lieutenant.

Hawley has spent 33 years in the private sector, holding various positions in farming, real estate and insurance.

He served in the Genesee County Legislature from 1984 through 1991.

Kent graduated from Brockport State College and taught high school social studies. He served in the Orleans County Legislature from 2003 to 2005.

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