The News is making endorsements in two closely contested races for the Erie County Legislature.
Once again voters are faced with a choice between two above-average candidates, the same two candidates who ran two years ago. Democrat Thomas A. Loughran should be returned to office.
Having taken office in 2006, he has shown himself to be independent, not always hewing to the party line. And although he provided leadership, as he said, on the financing for the Erie County Medical Center – a controversial borrowing deal in which the county benefited at the expense of the hospital – he believes it was in the best interest of taxpayers.
Over the years, Loughran has led the charge to streamline county government, right-size the Legislature, save taxpayers money and provide leadership for Erie Community College on revitalizing the North Campus. He proposed a resolution that unfortunately failed to gain traction to ensure a properly credentialed Water Authority chief.
Republican Guy R. Marlette is a strong challenger, with experience on the Amherst Town Board and as deputy supervisor. He has passion for public service and, in a close decision two years ago, won The News’ endorsement. This year we believe Loughran is the stronger candidate.
This one is easier than it should be. Republican incumbent Ted Morton is an uninspired legislator whose accomplishments are few. His opponent, political newcomer John Bruso, is passionate about serving the district and improving the performance of the Erie County Legislature. We endorse him without reservation.
Asked about his contention that he has attended to many public issues, Morton could only mention his support for dredging Como Park Lake. It is, without doubt, an important project, but insufficient to a claim on re-election.
Morton was first elected in 2013 despite ethical violations in his work as a financial planner. Last week, he voted to cancel 1.75 percentage points from the county’s sales tax in a transparently political maneuver, since there had been no discussion of covering the revenue loss. The effort failed.
Bruso, the Democratic candidate, is a retired executive with United Parcel Service. Among his goals, he said, are to bring his skills in building relationships to the Legislature and to bring new eyes to the county’s opioid crisis. He will need to be an independent Democrat to be effective, but he is clearly the better choice.
Saturday: Comptroller and state ballot proposals.