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2 retirees vying for Town Board seat

Two retirees in their 50s will square off Nov. 4 in an election for a one-year term on the Town Board.

W. Ross Annable, a Republican who was a member of the Niagara County Sheriff's Office for 28 years, will face off against Joe Derda, a Democrat who put in 31 years at the Delphi plant in Lockport.

The candidates were nominated last week by the two major parties.

The contenders are going for a vacancy that occurred when longtime Councilman Gary E. Nichols died Sept. 19. If Nichols had lived one more day, thus passing the deadline for placing vacancies on the November ballot, the other councilmen could have appointed a replacement without having to hold an election for the seat until November 2009.

Annable is the son of Supervisor William A. Annable. Since his December 2005 departure from the Sheriff's Office, where his last rank was sergeant, he has taken the part-time job of Village of Barker police chief.

"I've been considering an opportunity to serve down here," said Annable, 51. "I've grown up in this area. I want to serve the community."

Annable considered running for sheriff in 2001 but decided against making the race, citing family concerns at the time.

Derda, 50, left Delphi in February 2007. His last assignment at the auto components plant was as an engineering test technician.

"I've never been one of those kind of guys who sits back and lets other people do something," Derda said. "You can't sit back and cry if you don't stand up and try."

Hartland is a solidly Republican town, and a Democratic candidate is a rare sight here.

"It's an uphill battle. I think I'm outnumbered on the voters' list 3-to-1," Derda said.

Annable said his platform will be to keep taxes as low as possible while maintaining town services. Derda agreed that taxes always need scrutiny, but he said a fresh outlook could help the town, too.

"Maybe it's time for a Democrat. We need a new, fresh set of eyes to look at everything," he said.

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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