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Jankowiak won't seek full term

Cheektowaga will have its third supervisor in a year starting Jan. 1, following James J. Jankowiak's announcement Wednesday that he will not run for election.

Jankowiak, 59, was appointed supervisor in January following the election of former Supervisor Dennis H. Gabryszak to the Assembly. He was chosen by Democratic Committee members with the understanding that he would seek election to the supervisor's post in November.

"I do apologize, because I did make the statement," he said. "Unfortunately, things have changed for me."

Jankowiak was appointed to the Town Board in 1996 and was re-elected twice. He said he has had several conversations recently with his wife about his future and the difficult decision not to run.

"It's time for me to just sit back and enjoy myself a little bit," he said. "There's some younger people behind me that have some new and fresh ideas."

Jankowiak said Democratic Chairman Frank Max, who supports West Seneca Supervisor Paul Clark for Erie County executive, has "not leaned on me." Jankowiak has endorsed James Keane, whom he worked with in the Gorski administration.

Max said Jankowiak had been doing a good job as supervisor. He was surprised when Jankowiak told him he wasn't running.

"I said,'You've got to be kidding me,' and those weren't my exact words, trust me," said Max, adding that Jankowiak was doing a good job. "I was disappointed he decided not to run."

The Democratic Party also released a statement Wednesday saying that Jankowiak and Council Member Thomas M. Johnson Jr. were not seeking re-election, but Johnson said he has not made up his mind.

"My wife and I will make that decision, and it will be based on our personal circumstances," he said.

Johnson, 65, said he would make the decision by the time the party holds its meeting to make endorsements.

Jankowiak was the presumed front-runner for the Democratic nomination and for election in the heavily Democratic town. It's a busy election season, with the terms of supervisor, three Town Board members, town clerk, highway superintendent and one town justice ending at the end of the year.


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