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20 questions for the candidates

The News asked the two candidates for county executive 20 questions on major issues in the campaign. Their responses will be given one day at a time.

Question 19: County Executive Joel A. Giambra has been an outspoken opponent of a Seneca Nation casino downtown. Do you support or oppose the casino?

Christopher C. Collins: "It's already here so we should build the most grandiose casino possible," said the Clarence business owner.

Collins often prefaces his support for the casino with a caveat that because it's already been approved, the community should embrace it, a hint that maybe he wasn't always a big casino backer.

He won't comment on that but said it's time to exploit the casino now that it's a done deal.

"We have a casino but it's nothing but a small warehouse," said the Republican. "I support the Senecas' $330 million investment in downtown."

James P. Keane: "We're already paying the price," the Democrat said of casinos in Niagara Falls and Salamanca. "Shouldn't we get some of the benefits, namely jobs?"

Keane said he would have preferred New York State to legalize casino gambling, a way of generating sales and property taxes, but the alternative, a Seneca-run casino, is a positive step forward.

"It's not the answer for downtown Buffalo but it's part of the answer," he said. "We have to stop saying 'no' to development."

Keane said he welcomes the $333 million hotel and casino complex the Senecas hope to build downtown.

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