Editor’s note: Today The Buffalo News begins a series of editorials endorsing candidates for some of the offices to be filled Nov. 4. These endorsements by the editorial board are intended to aid voters in their evaluations of those seeking office. Whether you agree or disagree with our recommendations, we urge you to vote. The Erie County Board of Elections (http://www.erieboe.com) has sample ballots and maps showing district boundaries.
60th State Senate District
Sen. Mark J. Grisanti has earned re-election in the 60th State Senate District, which includes parts of Buffalo, Grand Island, City and Town of Tonawanda, Hamburg, Orchard Park, Evans and Brant. After being knocked off the Republican line in a hard-fought primary, he is running as the Independence Party candidate and finds himself in an equally difficult general election fight.
Grisanti, a Republican first elected in 2010 and returned to office two years later, has epitomized independence. In one example, he boldly snubbed his own party and aligned with the governor on same-sex marriage. It was the right decision.
The concerted effort by the New York State United Teachers to knock Grisanti out of Albany is an example of all that’s bad about politics. The union spent $300,000 backing Kevin Stocker in the Republican primary, knowing Stocker would be the weaker general election candidate. When Stocker won the primary, the union switched its support to Democrat Marc Panepinto.
Panepinto’s 2001 conviction for election fraud should disqualify him from elective office. Also troubling is Stocker’s refusal, during a meeting with The News’ editorial board, to answer most questions about where he stands on issues.
Grisanti, with his solid record in Albany, is the choice.
62nd State Senate District
The 62nd State Senate District seat coming open because of the hastily announced retirement of longtime Sen. George D. Maziarz should be filled by North Tonawanda Mayor Robert G. Ortt, the Republican nominee. The district covers all of Niagara and Orleans counties and two towns in Monroe County.
Ortt, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, has been mayor for five years. He touts preparing consecutive budgets without increasing taxes and without cutting services.
143rd Assembly District
Cheektowaga’s 143rd Assembly District has been unrepresented since January, when Dennis Gabryszak resigned over multiple allegations of sexual harassment. Voters will fill that opening Nov. 4 when they choose between Cheektowaga Council Member Angela M. Wozniak, a Republican, and Democrat Mark Mazurek. They should give the post to Wozniak, a spirited and focused officeholder who is devoted to honest government and who has already shown she can beat the odds.
Wozniak is the lone Republican on the Town Council and has made a point of monitoring town contracts, including one for sidewalks that State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli concluded overpaid for sidewalk replacement to the tune of $600,000. If she brings that kind of focus to Albany, she could play a useful public role.
Mazurek is a first-time political candidate, and from a conservative mold. He is a small-business consultant, and has some good ideas, but would benefit from local government experience.
Friday: State attorney general and comptroller.