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Holtz becomes first woman elected supervisor in town history

Cheektowaga Town Clerk Mary F. Holtz, 57, running unopposed for town supervisor, Tuesday became the first woman in Cheektowaga's 168-year history to win the town's top political office.

Holtz, daughter of former Town Supervisor Benedict T. Holtz and a town employee for most of her life, was drafted by Democratic Party officials last summer to run for supervisor and then found herself without opposition.

Virtually all of her career has been served on the town clerk's staff, where Holtz says she found the most satisfaction from helping people and working on the town's history. As town historian, she led an effort to index and catalog much of Cheektowaga's history.

"I'm a workaholic, and I love Cheektowaga," she said.

An affable and widely known politician with a characteristic laugh, Holtz won her first election as town clerk in 2003 after she had worked in the clerk's office for 32 years. And in an unusual parallel, Benedict Holtz also served more than a decade as town clerk after losing to former Supervisor Daniel Weber in the 1963 election.

Holtz, who said she most admired her father for his ethics, will focus during her administration on the problems with neighborhood blight on the town's western border, which is shared with Buffalo.

She also will direct the town's effort to draft a comprehensive master plan, and a multiyear project to upgrade and renovate the town's physical plant.

Holtz also said Cheektowaga must continue efforts to attract business and outside investments, which will stabilize the town's economy, as well as its neighborhoods.

In other Cheektowaga town races, with 75 percent of the precincts reporting, endorsed Democrats were apparently cruising to victory.

Seven candidates were competing for three seats on the Town Board. Jeff Swiatek, a lawyer, and three-term incumbent, was leading the pack with 24 percent of the vote, followed by incumbent board member Richard A. Zydel, 19 percent, and first-time candidate Charles C. Markel, 17 percent.

Republicans were Gerald P. Kaminski, 13 percent; Richard J. Maisano, 11 percent, and Chauncey. W. Stewart, 10 percent.

The seventh candidate, Stanley J. Kaznowski III, who lost the Republican primary by a scant 6 votes, was polling 4 percent.

In the race for town clerk, Alice P. Magierski, the Democrat who is stepping down from the Town Board, was beating her Republican opponent Susan Nolder by more than two to one -- 69 percent to 31 percent.

And in the race for highway superintendent, Deputy Highway Superintendent Mark D. Wegner, the Democrat, with 65 percent, was easily winning over his Republican opponent, Scott Rybczynski, who was polling 35 percent.


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