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Morinello confirms Assembly candidacy

NIAGARA FALLS – Just days after he retired from his City Court judgeship, Angelo J. Morinello on Tuesday confirmed that he plans to run for the Assembly in the 145th District.

After 14 years on the bench, Morinello, at age 70, was forced into mandatory retirement with seven years left on his current term. But he said he is not ready to retire and confirmed his plans to run against incumbent John D. Ceretto.

Ceretto announced in August that he was switching his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat. He said Tuesday that he plans to seek a fourth two–year term as a Democrat.

Morinello, a registered Republican, said he is seeking the support of the GOP leadership, as well as from other parties.

“I have a lot more to offer. Between my judicial career, working with businesses and in my family business and my law career, I’ve have a well-rounded background,” Morinello said. “I’m not ready to stop helping the community.”

Morinello said that with the corruption in Albany, the timing is right for a candidate with legal and judicial experience who has lived under the “strictest judicial ethics of the State of New York.”

“Strong ethics in the Legislature will really benefit the entire state,” he said. “If we can take some of the questions out of politics, we can start redirecting where our state should go.”

He aims to pursue ethics reform because “I’ve been told by citizens and officials that I embody what a judge should be and I bring that every day to the bench. I think I can bring that judicial wisdom and experience to analyze situations to come up with solutions that haven’t been thought of before – from a small-town issue in Cambria to an issue that effects the whole area.”

In addition to his work in City Court, Morinello also worked as in-house counsel for the family business Certo Brothers Distributing Co., which was founded by his grandfather Peter J. Certo. He said that as a former county assistant district attorney, counsel to Niagara Falls Community Development and an attorney in business law, he is “well aware” of the needs and the people in the 145th District.

Ceretto said that he has not yet turned his attention to the campaign but that he is very excited about his new role in the Assembly.

He took a $9,000 pay cut with the loss of seniority when he changed his party affiliation, he said, but will have a greater voice for his constituents as a member of the majority party in the Assembly.

“Economic development is the No. 1 priority for this area – jobs, jobs, jobs,” Ceretto said. “It has always been about jobs.”

He said that aging infrastructure is also an issue and that the area needs to receive a greater share of state aid.

Ceretto said that when he started out five years ago, the state was in bad shape, almost $13 billion in debt, but that under Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, with Democrats and Republicans working collectively, the state balanced the budget and is going into the new legislative session with a nearly billion-dollar surplus.