This year's race in the 145th Assembly District features a two-term incumbent against a student of politics.
After 25 years in the private sector and three in the Erie County Legislature, Mark J.F. Schroeder is seeking re-election to a third term in the Assembly.
"I try to think objectively, which doesn't always work in this business," said Schroeder, 52, a Democrat.
He is challenged by Dennis M. Marek, 33, a Republican who learned the government and politics business as a legislative aide to the late James D. Griffin, when the future four-term mayor served on the Common Council. Marek, who works for Wilson Farms, also ran for the South District seat on the Council in 1999.
"Working for Mr. Griffin gave me a better insight of how things were," he said.
He criticized his opponent for being soft on gun safety and child molesters, which Schroeder vehemently denied.
"You need somebody representing you, not representing what he thinks," Marek said.
Schroeder said he has a strong pro-safety, pro-family record, and supports the Second Amendment. He also sponsored legislation to protect children from Internet sex crimes.
The assemblyman's name also will appear on the Independence, Conservative and Working Families lines.
The district includes the southern portion of Buffalo, part of Lackawanna, and the towns of Orchard Park and West Seneca.
Marek said that New York should not deal with the current financial crisis in a patchwork way and that if budget cuts are needed, they should be made from government first before cutting programs that affect residents.
"Then if you try to hit a program, you hit it lightly," he said.
He would look at abolishing the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority and on reducing government red tape.
A major problem facing the state is the huge amount of debt in state government, Schroeder said. The state's authorities add to the debt, he said, and many of them, including the Thruway Authority and the Liquor Authority, should be dissolved.
"I think the time has come where we really have to look at how we govern, and we need to do it in another way," Schroeder said.
He has not been afraid to endorse some politically unpopular measures.
"I'm professional, I'm respectful, but I don't report to anybody in Albany," Schroeder said. "I try to do the best thing."
His priorities, he said, are senior citizens, veterans, people with disabilities and middle-class families.