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DEMOCRATS GIVE GORSKI CAMPAIGN ROLE

FIVE ENDORSED CHEEKTOWAGA DEMOCRATS- including one current officeholder -- got a lift Tuesday when former Erie County Executive Dennis T. Gorski weighed in as their honorary campaign chairman.

Some Cheektowaga Democrats claimed it signals Gorski's re-entry into the political arena, but the man who lost the county's top job to Republican Joel A. Giambra in November 1999 was having none of it.

"I have no interest in political involvement. . . . I'm not running under any circumstances -- ever," said Gorski, now 56 and vice president-government programs for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Western New York.

The Cheektowaga Democratic Town Committee announced that Gorski, a town resident, will serve as honorary chairman for its slate in the September Democratic primary -- Linda L. Czubaj, Sigmund S. "Ziggy" Kucewicz and Richard A. Zydel for the Town Board; John M. Dudziak for town justice; and Joan E. Dudek for tax receiver.

Only Dudek is an incumbent.

The party's other officeholders -- Council Members Patricia A. Jaworowicz, Thomas J. Mazur and William P. Rogowski and Town Justice Ronald E. Kmiotek -- spurned the Democratic committee's endorsement in favor of running as a slate in the primary.

Gorski offered to lend his name to the endorsed slate at a fund-raiser for Czubaj on Friday, said John M. Marriott, a zone chairman and member of the endorsed candidates committee.

The post of honorary chairman "is largely symbolic. . . . I expect it means he'll be around and help out in an advisory capacity," Marriott said. "Nevertheless, coming from Dennis Gorski, who is still very popular in Cheektowaga, it means a lot."

What it means is that organization Democrats at the town and county level want to continue to control Cheektowaga and have recruited Gorski to help elect their candidates, asserted the incumbents' campaign chairman, Christopher J. Kowal.

"The incumbents have been saying all along that they want to be independent and free of control by town fathers and county officials, past and present, and this proves the point," said Kowal, also Cheektowaga highway superintendent.

Town and county Democratic leaders "don't like people who think independent of their views. Otherwise why would Dennis Gorski come out of hibernation and get involved?" Kowal said.

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