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Baines, Smith face off once more

The Rev. Robert E. Baines and Demone A. Smith both profess to be part of a bigger plan, but differ in the forums in which they serve.

The two will face off again Tuesday in the primary for the Democratic nomination for the Erie County Legislature's 7th District seat; Smith, who won the 2003 primary, went on to win his first full term.

"There's still some work to do, and I'm part of a bigger plan," Smith said, referring to his relationship with State Sen. Byron W. Brown, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for mayor. "We share a vision for Buffalo and Erie County."

Smith was Brown's legislative assistant when Brown represented the Masten District on the Common Council. When Brown was elected to the State Senate, Smith went to work with Antoine Thompson, the district's current Council member.

Baines, the longtime pastor of Zion Missionary Baptist Church, perseveres, despite unsuccessful bids for the Buffalo Board of Education and Common Council, as well as the previous primary in the 7th District County Legislature District.

"I think it's part of my calling, a part of my ministry," Baines said. "I win whether I win office or not," by doing what "God put in my heart."

Baines said voters with whom he has spoken list the county budget as their top issue.

"Here on the East Side, people [are] really concerned about Erie County Medical Center, to make sure it stays open," he said.

Smith also cited the budget as his top priority, saying he wants "to make it palatable."

Baines listed communication as another important issue. "We need people in political positions who do not need a job," Baines said. "They need to be there because it's a ministry to them."

Smith takes pride in his impact on youth through sports, after-school programs and exposing them to government. Older people in the district, he said, have watched him grow, which is helping to restore faith in the city.

"They are looking for a future. They are looking for a tomorrow -- that's what I represent," he said.

e-mail: jhabuda@buffnews.com

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