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Two candidates may seek Democratic line in 143rd Assembly District

Democrats in Cheektowaga and Lancaster appear headed toward a primary contest in September for the 143rd Assembly District seat held by Angela M. Wozniak, a Conservative who organizes with Albany Republicans.

James P. Rogowski, a teacher and Democratic member of the Cheektowaga Town Board, announced his candidacy Thursday at the Cheektowaga Central Schools office, 3600 Union Road. But Monica P. Wallace, a University at Buffalo Law School professor and former law clerk to U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara, also is expected to run, according to Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy J. Zellner.

Both are members of New York State United Teachers, Zellner noted, which could lead to a competition for support from the union that often supplies money and manpower for state legislative elections.

Wozniak was elected to the seat in 2014 after Democratic Assemblyman Dennis H. Gabryszak resigned early in the year amid allegations of sexually harassing staff members. She emerged as the first non-Democrat in memory to claim the seat held by such notable past Assembly members as Dennis T. Gorski and Paul A. Tokasz.

Rogowski is expected to advance a platform centered on “protecting family, positive economic growth, and putting people first – not politics.”

Wallace sent a letter to Democratic committee members this week emphasizing her “experience and character” as she seeks the seat in the 143rd District. “The people of Western New York are weary of personal and political corruption, and they deserve better,” she said. “This year we have the opportunity to demand a new standard of conduct for all elected leaders and I would like to be the candidate who champions that cause.”

Zellner said committee members from the district will convene sometime in the next few weeks to endorse their candidate, though it is expected that a primary contest could still develop for Sept. 13.