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A HOT RACE FOR 146TH ASSEMBLY DISTRICT SEAT <br> YOUNGER QUINN COUNTS ON NAME RECOGNITION AS PORDUM, HOAK BATTLE

At 26, he never has held elective office, yet he has a name recognition advantage over his rivals, both political veterans.

At a recent candidates night in Hamburg, several favorable references were made to Jack Quinn, but they involved Rep. Jack Quinn Jr., R-Hamburg.

The congressman's son actually is Jack Quinn III but will appear on the ballot as Jack Quinn.

In addressing the audience, the young man said, "I am Jack Quinn."

He said it with a smile, but if some voters confuse him with his popular father who won as a Republican in an overwhelmingly Democratic district, well, is that his fault?

In most State Legislature races, incumbents face little competition, but in the 146th Assembly District, a hotly contested three-way race is under way to fill the seat of retiring Assemblyman Richard A. Smith.

Contending that Francis J. Pordum and Hamburg Supervisor Patrick H. Hoak will split the Democratic vote, some observers rate Quinn the favorite.

After Pordum successfully challenged Hoak in the Democratic primary, Hoak decided to stay in the race and actively campaigned on the Independence and Conservative parties' lines.

Hoak made no secret of his personal dislike of Pordum and acknowledged that staying in the race would help Quinn at the expense of a fellow Democrat.

Pordum said Hoak went back on his word to support the primary winner.

Pordum, 58, is trying to win back the Assembly seat he held for 14 years before giving it up to run unsuccessfully for Congress against Jack Quinn Jr.

He stresses his experience and knowledge of operations in Albany. The Legislature and budget system have been criticized as dysfunctional, but Pordum said he was working for reforms a decade ago.

A retired Lackawanna teacher, the Derby resident talks about his difficult childhood after the death of his father and how he worked his way through college with a job at Bethlehem Steel.

During his years in the Assembly, Pordum said, he was instrumental for obtaining funds to expand the Hamburg golf course to 18 holes. Hoak says that while the state provided funds for construction of the log cabin at the golf course, town residents paid for the expansion.

Pordum also said he was instrumental in obtaining funds for a plan to redevelop the Bethlehem property and for a low-level replacement for the Father Baker Bridge that opened up more land for development in Lackawanna.

He says he will work to end tax breaks for companies that outsource jobs, reform Empire Zones to ensure they produce the jobs promised in return for tax breaks and expand them to rural areas.

Hoak, 54, a Village of Hamburg resident, seeks to capitalize on his lack of a major party line and argues he could be an independent voice in Albany.

He says he knows the problems of small business, having been involved in his family's tavern and restaurant for 30 years, and has a proven record of accomplishment in three terms as supervisor.

Hoak said that, during his tenure, town tax increases have averaged less than 2 percent (although the preliminary budget for next year calls for an 8 percent increase). He also said he has helped obtain innovative programs, including a domestic violence office, senior citizen day care and a therapeutic pool for seniors.

Quinn, an attorney and former prosecutor in the district attorney's office, has called for ending "three men in a room" government in Albany and for requiring an on-time state budget.

The Town of Hamburg resident promised to fight to make doing business easier for companies in Western New York and to eliminate the energy tax as well as reform the health care system and reduce the cost of prescription drugs.

He also promised "to carry on the Quinn tradition of working with both parties."

e-mail: ternst@buffnews.com

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