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Two vie for Democratic nod in Lewiston Fred M. Newlin II and Kathleen S. Mazierski go head-to-head for supervisor nomination

Incumbent Fred M. Newlin II and challenger Kathleen S. Mazierski can agree on this much: She is challenging him for the Democratic nomination in the town supervisor's race.

After that, they have trouble agreeing on anything.

She says he makes too much money; he says he is doing the work of two people and has saved the town a fortune. She claims he behaved unethically by accepting gifts from Modern Landfill; he denies it while noting that the company's CEO has her campaign sign on his lawn. She blames him for problems at two libraries; he says he has nothing to do with either. He says she is beholden to Republicans; she says she is independent.

It will be up to Democratic Party voters Tuesday if any of that matters when they decide whether Newlin or Mazierski will be their candidate.

Mazierski also is running on the Independence Party line in November while Newlin, the endorsed Democrat, will have the Working Families line. Awaiting them in November will be Highway Superintendent Steven Reiter, who is running for supervisor on the Republican line.

Mazierski, 47, who has lived in Lewiston for 10 years, runs a business in the Village called Pur Skin -- which makes vitamin based skin therapy -- and Pretty Personal -- which allows women who are undergoing chemotherapy to makes wigs in their own homes.

Newlin, 42, is now running for his fourth two-year term as supervisor. Before getting into politics, he ran a book consulting business with his late father, Lyman. He has lived in Lewiston for the past 28 years.

Newlin has found himself on the defensive in this campaign, as Mazierski makes charges about him. This week, she questioned why Newlin accepted an offer to be a guest of Modern in its suite at HSBC Arena for Buffalo Sabres games. The town has been negotiating with Modern over the company's expansion plans since 2007.

"It wasn't just me," Newlin responded last week. "You would go to the Modern suite and judges were there, chiefs of police were there, town councilmen were there, but I have not gone in 2 1/2 years."

Newlin said he came to realize that accepting the invitation was not a good idea and he stopped going.

"If [Mazierski's] alluding to some special relationship with Modern, she's flat out wrong," Newlin said. He later addded Modern CEO Gary Smith has a Mazierski campaign sign on his lawn.

Mazierski also charged that Sanborn residents told her they do not believe the town is responsive to issues there. Newlin said he believes that criticism relates to the condition of carpeting in the children's room at the Sanborn Library. He said the town came up with the money to replace it but found out that shelving needs to be unbolted and the work would cost more than $20,000.

"[Mazierski's] just making the same false claims county Republicans have been making for the past nine years, and the voters aren't buying it," Newlin said.

Newlin pointed out that Mazierski has received funding from the county GOP and its chairman, Henry F. Wojtaszek.

"It's one side that's funding two candidates. It's clear she's getting her ideas from them," he said.

But Mazierski vehemently disagrees. She calls herself a Democrat and an outsider with an allegiance to no party.

"I tell people that I am a Democrat in philosophy, but I am an independent Democrat. I am not going to march in lockstep with any party, including my own. If a Democrat wants to fund me, if a Republican wants to fund me, that's fine. Nobody owns me," Mazierski said.

She said she came to the race because of Newlin's 37 percent pay increase, which she found "insensitive at this time in our country's economic history."

She said she would return the supervisor's job to a part-time salary, and she would take a pay cut, with the difference going back into the town coffers to fund a children's librarian position that had been cut at the Lewiston Library.

Newlin said he works 50 to 60 hours a week and does not take retirement or health care benefits.

He said in 2004 the position of budget officer was cut to part time, saving the town a total of $133,191.

"I've picked up the slack," Newlin said. He also said that with no fringe benefits, as a part-time employee, he's 63rd, overall in total pay in the town.

As for the librarian, Newlin said the Town Board fully funded the library and has no control over who is hired. "That's an internal decision," he said.

"I'm letting people know that finances are a lot better since I took office," Newlin said.

There are no major party primary races for two councilman seats. Incumbent Alfonso M. Bax, who has been endorsed by both the Republicans and Democrats, is seeking the Independence and Conservative lines in a primary battle with Village Trustee and endorsed Republican Michael J. Marra for the four-year seat. Endorsed Democrat, Attorney David V. Sanchez will run against Bax on the Working Families line.

Incumbent Democrat Sean Edwards has stepped down after four years on the board.

e-mail: nfischer@buffnews.com

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