Accountability; open, inclusive government; and lower taxes are some of the issues dominating the race for a vacant Town Board seat in West Seneca.
Christine Wleklinski-Bove, a Democrat, is running against Gregory P. Falkner, a Republican, for the unexpired term of Timothy Wroblewski, a board member who was elected to the Erie County Legislature last fall.
Wleklinski-Bove cited change and accountability in town government as important issues in her campaign.
"My vision for West Seneca is a government in which citizens feel included in the process," she said. "Local government needs to be user-friendly and taxpayers need to be protected."
"With the county executive's proposal for an increase in the county sales tax and property tax, town government needs to work hard to rein in local tax increases and find ways to be more efficient," she said.
She also cited the improvement and protection of youth programs, family issues and senior citizen needs as important issues. Developing the industrial park and bringing in jobs that pay a living wage are also major goals, she said.
Wleklinski-Bove, 56, graduated from Nardin Academy and holds bachelor's and master's degrees in education from Buffalo State College.
A former West Seneca teacher, she now works as a strategic account manager. She is endorsed by the Democratic, Independence, and Working Families parties, as well as AFL-CIO affiliated unions and the United Auto Workers.
Falkner, 53, who represented the 9th District in the Erie County Legislature in 2002-03, currently works as a supervisor in the Delaware Division of the Erie County Parks Department. Falkner also owned and operated Falkner's Auto Service in West Seneca for 35 years before selling the business.
"I feel we have a need for a representative that will listen to the people," Falkner said. He said the Town Board makes many decisions before holding public meetings. "We need to have open Town Board meetings," he said.
Falkner also points to what he calls a dramatic decline in the number of businesses in West Seneca.
"We need to establish a commercial tax base in West Seneca to take pressure off property owners," he said.
Falkner, who is endorsed by both the Republican and Conservative parties, said he brings a unique combination of government and business experience to the job.
Born and raised in West Seneca, he attended West Seneca schools and graduating in 1968 from West Seneca West High School.
He immediately went into business and also earned an associate's degree in applied sciences from Erie Community College in 1983. The winner of next week's election will have to run for a full four-year term next year.