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The Cattaraugus County Democratic Caucus last week chose newspaperman Kevin Burleson, 42, of Great Valley, to serve a four-year term as the party's election commissioner beginning Jan. 1.

Burleson and Commissioner Richard O. Stevenson were two of seven applicants seeking the post. Minority Leader Carmen Vecchiarella refused to provide the vote tally but said that Burleson received more than the five votes needed from the eight-member panel and that only seven votes were cast. Legislature David Anastasia, D-Olean, also applied and was interviewed, though he could not cast a vote as a Democratic legislator.

Burleson is publisher and managing editor of the Salamanca Press and is a self-described "political junkie." He has covered the Legislature beat for the past 16 years.

Burleson removed himself from county government reporting and promoted Laura Howard to managing editor in preparation for ending his newspaper career at the end of December.

"My interest has always been politics and it's not a great leap from covering to doing it," he said, adding that he will try to serve the county's taxpayers and the party.

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