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Democratic executive committee in Niagara County to interview prospects for district attorney

LOCKPORT – Niagara County Democratic Chairman Nicholas J. Forster said Wednesday that the party’s executive committee will interview two or three prospects for the party’s endorsement for district attorney.

The definite interviewees, Forster said, are Caroline A. Wojtaszek, of North Tonawanda, and Joseph F. Townsend, of Cambria. Andrew A. Ligammari, of Niagara Falls, might be included, Forster said.

Wojtaszek is the only announced candidate, and she already has been endorsed by the Independence Party. A former assistant district attorney, Wojtaszek currently serves as confidential law clerk to County Judge Sara Sheldon.

She is married to former County Republican Chairman Henry F. Wojtaszek, a fact that seemingly made Forster reluctant to consider her candidacy.

“This has been an open process from the beginning,” Forster said Wednesday. “We are a party of inclusion, not a party of exclusion.”

Wojtaszek said she sent Forster a letter and talked with other Democrats to try to win a chance to be interviewed for the party’s endorsement. “He called me and invited me to the executive committee,” Forster said.

Forster said that the interviews probably will be done in the second week of May and that on the same night, the full Democratic Committee will be asked to vote on the executive committee’s recommendation.

Wojtaszek said she wants the endorsement of all parties.

“There is no Democratic or Republican way to keep violent criminals off the street in Niagara County,” she said.

Wojtaszek said she has not yet sent a letter to County Republican Chairman Scott P. Kiedrowski seeking the GOP endorsement.

“I told this to Nick, that first I’m seeking the endorsement of my party,” she said.

Ligammari has not played a role in local politics since unsuccessful runs for DA in 1999 and county judge in 2000. In both instances, Ligammari lost the Democratic primary and was defeated as a minor-party candidate in the general election.

Ligammari said Wednesday that he has not had any “significant” discussions about running for district attorney and declined to comment further. Forster confirmed Ligammari’s account but said his name came up in the report of a Democratic search committee of lawyers.

Townsend, the last Democrat to serve as county public defender, in 2003-04, has expressed strong interest in running for district attorney, but not in receiving Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s appointment to fill the vacancy created when Republican Michael J. Violante resigned March 21.

Townsend could not be reached to comment.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com