Voters in Cattaraugus County will decide several races Tuesday, including a contest between two Ashford men vying to complete the second year of the late Gerard "Jess" Fitzpatrick's term as the Legislature's District 5 representative.
Charles W. Couture, 64, was chosen in May by the Republican Party to fill the seat until the election. He is endorsed by the Republican, Independence and Conservative parties.
His opponent is former Cattaraugus County Legislator Charles F. Hebdon, who will appear on the lines of the Democratic and Working Families parties.
Both men run agricultural businesses. Couture, 64, is retired from a 30-year agriculture teaching job at Springville Griffith Institute. His family runs the Fox Valley Greenhouse at their home, with florist shop locations in Ellicottville and Salamanca.
He also is a member of the Cattaraugus County Planning Board, the county's Agriculture and Farmland Protection Board and the state Department of Environmental Conservation Region 9 Advisory Committee and is a former Ashford town councilman.
Hebdon, 65, is a beef farmer who served two two-year terms in the County Legislature from 1984 to 1988 before reapportionment eliminated his seat. He retired from a career as an ironworker in 1998 and is active in the West Valley Volunteer Fire Department. He is a member of several conservation, sportsmen and veterans groups.
In the Town of Ellicottville, voters will cast ballots in a referendum that, if approved, will lengthen the term to four years for the offices of supervisor, highway superintendent and clerk.
There are several contested races in the City of Olean:
Incumbent Ward 1 Alderman Howard Peters, who is running on the Family Values ticket, is serving out the remainder of a term recently vacated due to a resignation. He's challenged by two newcomers: Republican Andrew J. Searles and Democratic and Conservative candidate Robert J. LaForge.
Incumbent Ward 4 Alderman Raymond L. Wangelin is currently serving as Common Council president and hopes to win another term in office on the Republican line. He is challenged by Democrat Fredrick M. Scicchitano.
Incumbent Ward 5 Alderman Jefrey S. Steiner is running for another term on the Republican, Independence and Conservative lines. He is serving out the remainder of a seat vacated due to a resignation in January. He is challenged by Scott R. Paoletto, who is running on the Democratic and Human Party tickets.
In other contests around the county:
Incumbent Coroner Cleon W. Easton, III, of Franklinville, owner of Babbitt & Easton Funeral Home, is running on the Republican, Independence and Conservative lines. He is challenged by Mark A. Schindler, running on the Democratic and Working Families lines. Schindler owns Schindler Funeral Home in Gowanda.
Three candidates are vying to complete a one-year term in a vacant councilman's post in the Town of East Otto. They are: Republican David J. Musall, Democrat Becky R. Dudley of Bowen Road and Conservative candidate James A. Dill.
Republican Party candidate Donald F. Mosher faces Independent Taxpayers Party candidate Robert J. Lanza in a bid to complete the final three years of a vacant East Otto councilman's term.
Salamanca Town Highway Superintendent James L. Crosby, running on the Democratic line, is challenged by Taxpayers Choice candidate Fred H. Light.