Democratic Hamburg town Councilman Michael P. Quinn Jr. said he's the best candidate to take on incumbent Erie County Legislator Lynne Dixon, a member of the Independence Party.
"Just because you're registered Independence doesn't mean you're independent," Quinn said. "She always votes with Republicans."
But Dixon has had no trouble in the past beating her challengers in District 9, which encompasses part of South Buffalo, Lackawanna and Hamburg, where Democrats have the majority.
"I've never been concerned about the politics of government. I vote and take action for the people I represent," Dixon said.
She said she spends most of her time in the community, meeting with residents, attending forums and being involved with service organizations.
"I listen to what is important to them, then advocate for those issues/funding in Erie County government," she said.
Quinn, 43, who once served as Hamburg town Democratic chairman, said he has been independent in his votes on the Town Board. He voted against the first proposal for a town sports complex, then later voted in favor of a different developer of a sports facility, and against a new pool at the senior center because he said the town already has a therapeutic pool for seniors.
"If you want someone who is independent, who is a Democrat who relates to the people in the district, there's no better guy than me," he said.
A former infantry paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division, as well as a member of the Ironworkers Union when he went to law school at night, Quinn, who is now a lawyer, said he's always been a working-class guy.
Dixon, 52, who was a journalist for 22 years before winning her first legislative election in 2009, said she considers her work public service.
"Some people want to use this position to move up the political ladder until the next opportunity arises. I’m not that person," she said.
Dixon is chairwoman of the Health and Human Services Committee and said she is proud of the Legislature's efforts battling the opioid crisis, although she conceded, "We still have a great deal of work to do."
She praises the Legislature's opposition to tax increases while increasing funding to cultural organizations, the library system, community organizations and Erie Community College. She also points to her work to reform Child Protective Services, including increasing the number of employees.
There has been speculation that she would be offered another job in county government and will not finish out her term if she wins reelection.
"There is always speculation in politics," Dixon said. "I wouldn't be running if I didn’t want to continue serving."
Quinn said he would use his legislator's salary to pay for a district office in Lackawanna, and would work on environmental issues, particularly water quality. He also wants to work on job training programs to help displaced workers.
Among his accomplishments on the Town Board, he counts finalizing negotiations to complete railroad quiet zones, addressing shoreline protection and increasing workforce training. He championed a town law requiring companies awarded large town construction contracts to have workers trained through apprenticeship programs.
"She's a nice lady," he said of Dixon, "but I think it's time for a change."