One of the most recognized figures in Amherst politics is “very seriously” considering a challenge to Republican incumbent Raymond W. Walter for the State Assembly in November.
Democrat Susan J. Grelick, who served nine years as Amherst supervisor and five as clerk, said she is rethinking an earlier decision not to run after more discussions with supporters urging her candidacy. She believes a combination of her town experience plus 10 years in various Albany legal positions – including her current job as legislative director and counsel to Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins – will form the basis of her effort.
“People see me as a perfect fit,” she said. “I haven’t made any decisions, but the idea is percolating out there. The more people talk about it, the more they think it’s a great idea.”
Grelick, 63, would loom as possibly the most serious challenger to an incumbent state legislator throughout Western New York this year. She brings instant name recognition to the race as well as the ability to self-finance a large part of the contest.
The seat could also attract money and manpower from Assembly Democrats in Albany, who recognize it as winnable after Walter squeaked by Democrat Steve Meyer in the 2016 election. Other Democrats are also working at winning the nomination, including SUNY student trustee Marc Cohen and Karen McMahon, a former law clerk to the late U.S. District Judge John T. Curtin.
McMahon has received support from Niagara County Democrats, while Cohen has been active around the area and state, including benefiting from a recent fundraiser sponsored by Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan.
But Republicans are almost sure to comb through every aspect of Grelick’s long record in Amherst for their campaign fodder.
Grelick, meanwhile, is already listing a host of issues and projects she looks to tackle should she win the election. They include tapping into state environmental funds to finance a new park at the former Westwood Country Club, alleviating traffic congestion on Main Street (possibly via a new Thruway interchange), creating new affordable housing opportunities, and addressing reuse of newly vacated retail stores in the town.
“A lot could be accomplished with the help of Albany,” she said.
She also emphasizes her close alliance with the newly-elected Town Board and Supervisor Brian J. Kulpa.