Joseph Lorigo, legislative leader of the Erie County Legislature's Republican-supported majority, staved off an aggressive challenge by Democrat Michelle Schoeneman to win re-election in the 10th District, which includes West Seneca, Elma, Marilla, Aurora, Wales, Colden and Holland.
Lorigo, 35, has risen to majority leader in the Legislature. He's a lawyer who works at the same firm as his father, Conservative Party Chairman Ralph Lorigo.
Schoeneman, 45, is a part-time literacy teacher at Springville-Griffith Institute. She waged a serious fight against Lorigo in what was expected to be a long-shot challenge for the seat, one that Democrats wanted to win to improve their chances of regaining control of the Legislature.
Lorigo, a Conservative, was first elected to the Legislature in 2011, beating the incumbent, and he has been re-elected twice.
He said he devotes a lot of time to his Legislature job and is proud to provide checks and balances in county government. Lorigo and said he has worked with the administration on some issues, including the opioid crisis and hiring more highway workers in 2015, which was opposed by the majority caucus.
But he has drawn the ire of County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz over how to finance expansion of Erie County Medical Center’s emergency department, as well as criticism from Poloncarz and Schoeneman for voting against extending the 1.75 percent additional Erie County sales tax.
Schoeneman had said a skills gap that exists among workers and the new jobs that will come to Erie County is a key issue, and that she would work for more job training.
While she helped form a group opposed to Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence, that raised money for anti-Collins billboards, she had said she is not a career politician, but a middle-class teacher and mother who became disheartened over what has occurred in local and national politics.