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Experience: Senior legislator representing Western New York; served in leadership positions since early 1980s; currently State Senate deputy majority leader for administration and chairman of the Senate Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business Committee; formerly chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Education and Local Governments, Ethics Committee and the Ethics Commission; initiated and was chairman of the Administration Regulations and Review Committee.

Issues: Revitalization of economy and job creation; tax relief while controlling spending; elimination of "onerous, outdated rules and regulations;" promote workfare, not welfare.

SUNY: "I do not support any further cuts in the SUNY Budget. The Senate restored $51.9 million to SUNY, $125 million to TAP and increased SUNY and CUNY Community Aid by over $10 million for the 1996-97 college year. These restorations, combined with other university-wide savings, should avert tuition increases or the need for layoffs. If the economy continues to recover and revenues improve, increases to the SUNY budget are feasible."

Welfare cuts: "State must act compassionately and reorder its public assistance programs at the same time. Welfare costs must be controlled. Able recipients must make the transition from welfare to workfare and self-sufficiency. We must redirect spending to provide job training and placement as well as transitional subsidies for child care and health care. Savings should ultimately be used to reduce the burden on taxpayers."

Experience: Child-care provider for more than 20 years; advocate for children and families since 1982.

Issues: Economic development and fiscal responsibility; welfare reform.

SUNY: "I would not support any further cuts in SUNY. Increases should be targeted to insure accessibility for all, bring SUNY up to speed technologically and reestablish our image of commitment to the SUNY system."

Welfare cuts: "I would not cut benefits at this time. We need a year to see how the federal changes work out. If benefits can be cut then we can look at what changes can be made."


Experience: State senator representing the 57th District since 1994; assistant minority leader for policy and administration, ranking member of the Insurance Committee; acting member of the Tourism, Recreation and Sports Development Committee and chairman of the Senate Democratic Task Force on the Financing of Affordable Home Ownership.

Issues: Affordable home ownership; expanding tourism in Western New York; economic revitalization of New York's urban centers; affordable and quality education and health care; job creation and retention; continuation of the Neighborhood Crime Prevention Program.

SUNY: "No, I would not support any further cuts to SUNY. I would support increasing the budget so long as the additional funding is not a result of further tax increases to (the middle) class."

Welfare cuts: "I believe that we must end welfare dependency. In order to achieve that goal, we must invest in job creation . . . and training programs."

Experience: Thirteen years of military service and an additional 16 years of community and government boards and committees, including NAACP president, neighborhood preservation corporations and Council of the Arts.

Issues: Wants to reduce taxes to promote economic growth; believes cooperative governments must cross county lines into natural metropolitan areas, while leaving existing communities as distinct societies; seeks an end of competition between area industrial development agencies; wants development of a consolidated plan for the growth of the Buffalo-Niagara Falls metropolitan area.

SUNY: "I don't know that SUNY is running as efficiently as is possible. If it becomes necessary for a tuition increase, I believe we should fund it, but it becomes a liability for the student. I believe that after graduation, if the student decides to stay in New York State, we should give that student additional tax benefits. If they use state funding and loans to gain their education here and then take off for some other part of the country, we should promptly collect those loans."

Welfare Cuts: Would not cut welfare benefits but would work to reduce the costs of the programs that provide those benefits. "Reducing the costs of these programs is absolutely necessary. These cuts should be twofold: from the top down -- reducing the administrative costs associated with the delivery of the programs -- and continuing efforts to reduce fraud and welfare abuse. Any savings should stay in the program to help welfare recipients get back into the work force."


Experience: Now in seventh full term as state senator; filled vacancy in Erie County Legislature in 1974 and served until 1981, when elected to State Senate; Democratic committeeman, 1967 to present.

Issues: Keeping property taxes down; holding the line on school taxes by improving state aid formulas; providing affordable public college education; improving job training for laid-off workers; reducing corporate welfare while increasing accountability firms must meet for governmental assistance; enacting responsible welfare reform that moves people toward real jobs at decent wages.

SUNY: "I will continue to oppose cuts in SUNY's budget, and will continue to advocate for an increased SUNY budget."

Welfare cuts: "I support a reasonable reduction in welfare benefits and back reform that puts people back to work. Any potential savings could be used to either help education or help lower the costs of doing business in Western New York."

Experience: Vietnam veteran; former small-business owner; nine years as host producer for local cable talk show; vocational teachers license; employed in Youth Conservation Corps and juvenile detention.

Issues: Welfare reform; environmental and conservation program improvements; lowering of property and income taxes; crime control; job re-training and placement services; adoption of local law providing veterans who purchase homes the ability to apply for exemptions from property taxes upon purchase of the property and obtain a pro-rated exemption for a portion of the taxable year.

SUNY: "My position is that I would not support cuts or increases in the SUNY system until we've had time to take a hard look at it. I think we're getting carried away here. We have 64 campuses in the syetem, 30 of those community colleges. They need to be looked at, for consolidation and evaluation, and when a report comes back we can make a solid and honest evaluation."

Welfare cuts: "We need to modify welfare's rental voucher system to make tenants responsible for damage they caused." He said he would use savings in the welfare program to improve sewers, drainage and creeks.


DALE M. VOLKER, 56 (R, C, F)
Experience: Senator representing the 59th District since 1978; chairman of the Senate Codes Committee, overseeing criminal justice for the Senate; New York State assemblyman, 1973-74; police officer in the Village of Depew, 1966-1972.

Issues: "The most important issues in this election year are providing protection against criminals, improving the economy to create more and better jobs and making sure that Western New York continues to get its fair share of the state budget. The reduction of real property taxes and improvements in education are also critical elements."

SUNY: "I do not intend to support further cuts in SUNY, although the real problem with SUNY lies in reform. SUNY Central in Albany must be reformed as well as the overall system. I would certainly support increasing the SUNY budget as long as it is fiscally prudent."

Welfare cuts: "The Legislature should, and I expect will, continue to reform welfare. Savings obtained from welfare reform should be used to cut real property taxes and ensure that services to the mentally and physically disabled are (kept) at proper level."

Experience: Corrections officer at Attica Correctional Facility; member of Kenmore Volunteer Fire Department and Wyoming Hook and Ladder Fire Department; a former assessor for the Town of Attica; vice chairman of the Wyoming County Democratic Party; Democratic Party chairman for the Town of Middlebury.

Issues: Fair distribution of aid for special-education children; affordable college tuition; a balanced budget on time; real property tax reform; tax credit for employees who provide child-care facilities; tax credit for employers who retrain employees; tougher sentencing for violent repeat criminal offenders.

SUNY: "No, I would not support any further cuts in the SUNY budget. I would support increasing the SUNY budget to the previous level of funding.

Welfare cuts: "Any cuts in welfare benefits should be allocated for welfare recipients to enter retraining programs to enable them to enter the work force."


Experience: From 1993 to 1995, served as chairwoman of the Senate Administrative Regulations Review Commission, and from 1995 to 1996 as chairwoman of the Local Government Committee; Erie County legislator, 1978-93, and minority leader, 1989-93; prior to 1978, served in various community and volunteer organizations.

Issues: "The property tax continues to be a burden to our residents. I sponsored legislation which will reduce burdensome mandates to municipalities and allow savings at the county and local level through shared services. This will reduce the upward pressure on property taxes to fund local governments."

SUNY: "The SUNY Board of Trustees reports that total income to SUNY has increased for 1996-97. State revenue forecasts continue to be positive due to Gov. Pataki's economic reforms. SUNY should certainly be given consideration to share in the state's funding priorities.

Welfare cuts: "The new welfare system mandates workfare. I will focus my efforts on legislation that gives local governments flexibility through economic development and resources that will establish training, mentoring programs and child care services."

Experience: Member of the Amherst Democratic Committee for past eight years; active in various political campaigns throughout Erie County; worked as intern under Amherst Town Supervisor Daniel J. Ward; active volunteer in various community organizations.

Issues: "The main goal of my campaign is to help reverse the effects of the Pataki administration. We need to reduce welfare fraud, hold the line on taxes, and keep SUNY costs down while maintaining the quality of education."

SUNY: "I would support increasing the SUNY budget."

Welfare cuts: "Yes. I would put the money into job training programs and use the money for workfare rather than welfare. Some of the monies could also be put into road and bridge repair."


Experience: New York state senator since March 1995; six years as Niagara County clerk; appointed youngest city clerk (North Tonawanda) in 1978 at age 25; prior to that served as deputy clerk in North Tonawanda; bachelor of arts degree in history.

Issues: Job creation and making New York's economy more "business friendly"; tax cuts; welfare reform, including the implementation of more workfare and learnfare programs; more criminal-justice system reforms; sponsored so-called "Megan's Law" legislation, which establishes a sex-offender registry to monitor the release of sexually violent criminals and provides for community notification.

SUNY: "I do support further cuts through streamlining central administration and giving individual campuses more flexibility in marketing and tuition. Welfare cuts: "I support time limits and believe the system needs to be revamped. With the savings, I would reduce taxes and keep the budget balanced."

Experience: A teacher all his adult life.

Issues: Says 85 percent of all children on welfare are the children of never-married or divorced women; believes a greater effort should be made to find the fathers and make them pay support; wants to make healthy felons earn their room, board and entertainment.

SUNY: "I oppose any SUNY cuts."

Welfare cuts: "Yes, for able-bodied men. Use savings to find fathers of welfare children and make them pay, thus further reducing welfare costs."

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