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Abraham, Scime pursue low-key, door-to-door Lancaster race

Lancaster Councilman John M. Abraham Jr. will face off with Marianne Scime on Nov. 4 in a race centered mostly on local development and taxes.

In a low key, entirely door-to-door campaign, both candidates have refrained from attacking each other publicly.

A Lancaster High School social studies teacher, Abraham formerly served the town as a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals. He was appointed in January to a seat left vacant by Mark Montour when he became a town judge last year.

In the 10 months since he took over for Montour, Abraham has introduced a measure memorializing the State Legislature to ban texting on cell phones while driving and a resolution that would allow Lancaster to stop giving tax breaks to new condominiums.

He also voted "no" in July to plans for a Wal-Mart Superstore to be built on Transit Road near William Street.

Abraham introduced several resolutions to provide tax relief for senior citizens and the disabled, and he is working on a similar measure for Cold War veterans.

Abraham has secured endorsements from the Lancaster Democratic Committee, the Conservative Party and the Working Families Party.

Scime is running as the endorsed Republican Party candidate. She is treasurer of the board of trustees at Lancaster's St. Mary's High School. She works alongside her husband running C-ME Sales, a family-owned boating supply business in Buffalo, is employed in St. Mary's Elementary School's preschool program and serves as commissioner of the Cayuga District of the Boy Scouts.

"I'm looking to bring back a bipartisan Lancaster Town Board," Scime said. "There is a need for the entire community to be represented and the opportunity to have different points of view heard. More than ever, we need a Town Board that is more fiscally responsible."

Scime said she has focused her campaign on three major areas of concern: the need to keep town taxes low, especially for people on fixed incomes; swelling traffic problems in Lancaster; and town infrastructure, which is not keeping up with the town's rapid development.

Her campaign also revived discussion of the town's controversial $1.8 million purchase of a former Walden Avenue Colecraft furniture plant for use as a new police station. Five years after the purchase, only the Detective Division is housed in that building.

Scime has also been critical of the Town Board's handling of the vacant Depew Library, where a furnace gone haywire resulted in outlandish fuel bills for the town last winter.

Abraham says he supports selling the Colecraft building -- which was purchased before he came on the Town Board -- and moving forward with site selection and construction of a new police facility. He believes the town's animal control operations needs a new home, too.

As for the Depew Library: "There's nothing we can do if there's no interested buyer," Abraham said, explaining the vacancy situation is complicated by the need for Depew's Village Board to approve zoning changes needed for almost any potential owner. Currently, zoning for the property is highly restrictive, he noted.

e-mail: iliguori@buffnews.com

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