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Legislature races cover city districts

NIAGARA FALLS -- The only two primary elections for Niagara County Legislature are in districts that cover sections of LaSalle and DeVeaux.

A 1st District Democratic primary pits Legislator Jason J. Murgia against challenger Richard A. Marasco in a rematch for a district that stretches across DeVeaux and downtown neighborhoods.

Murgia, 37, of Main Street, is finishing his fifth year in the Legislature.

"My goal from day one was to build the bridge and relationship from Lockport to Niagara Falls," said Murgia, a former grants coordinator for Niagara Falls High School.

The fact that Murgia, a Democrat, votes with the Legislature's Republican majority spurred Marasco to challenge him.

Marasco, 58, of Vanderbilt Avenue, is a social studies teacher at Niagara Falls High School. Marasco said he wants to "restore real representation back to the city."

"The person who is my opponent is somebody who is siding with the Republicans and not bringing true representation to the city," Marasco said.

Murgia said his decision to caucus with the majority has helped him to "work across party lines" and bring "vital funding" to his district.

Murgia, who has a bachelor's degree in marketing and management, said he is focused on making government more efficient.

Marasco has a master's degree in education and holds bachelor's degrees in business administration and accounting, U.S. history and political science.

Marasco said one of his top priorities is bringing "openness and transparency" to government, particularly to the Niagara County Industrial Agency. He said he would also work to "make sure that we in Niagara Falls get what we're supposed to be getting."

In LaSalle, the 5th District is up for grabs because longtime Legislator Sean J. O'Connor is retiring.

Republicans Vincent M. Mameli and Vincent M. Sandonato are seeking the seat. The primary winner will face Democrat Nicholas A. Melson in the general election.

Mameli, 58, of 77th Street, is a journeyman construction worker and owner of a small business called A.M. Niagara.

Mameli said the LaSalle area lacks "proper quality of life." Mameli said his top priorities would be "jobs, quality of life and economic stability."

Mameli said he would like to see money going to the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp. be used for economic development and constructing buildings.

"I would like to see jobs," Mameli said. "Jobs are the number one thing."

Mameli has a bachelor's degree in marketing.

Sandonato, 23, of 91st Street, is a legal assistant at a law firm. He holds bachelor's degrees in political science and Catholicism.

Sandonato said the LaSalle area "is very much under-represented."

"We really need somebody out there to fight for LaSalle and bring the money back into the community so we can enhance and improve the quality of life for the residents of LaSalle," Sandonato said.

Sandonato's top priorities are to downsize the Legislature to 15 members and to fight for more money for the area.

e-mail: djgee@buffnews.com

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