Srock to Challenge GOP's Godfrey
Wilson Democratic Chairman Chris Srock, who is presently unemployed, has announced his intention to challenge incumbent Republican David E. Godfrey for the Niagara County Legislature’s 10th District seat.
The sprawling district, encompassing the towns of Wilson, Cambria, and parts of Wheatfield, a longtime Republican stronghold, will be put in play this year by the 33-year-old Srock, a Newfane High School and University at Buffalo graduate who is an EMT and fire captain at Wilson Fire Company #1.
Srock has been a volunteer coach for the Wilson Youth Soccer program for seven years.
Srock is presently a stay at home dad and house husband. He and his wife Dawn have three daughters and are expecting a fourth child, a son, in June.
“Like so many Niagara County residents, I was laid-off and know firsthand how important it is to bring more economic development and activities to Niagara County," the candidate said.
This won’t be the first time Srock and Godfrey will be competing for a seat. In 2010, in the former 14th District, Godfrey was appointed by the Republican majority to replace outgoing Democratic Legislator Kyle Andrews following a rule change put in place by the majority allowing the legislature to appoint people of opposite parties to vacancies.
At the time, Legislator Renae Kimble and members of the Democratic minority caucus nominated Srock to succeed Andrews because he was a Democrat.
“This Republican stronghold has turned county government into a one-stop shop for big businesses to walk in and benefit at the expense of the working men and women trying to keep their small businesses afloat,” said Srock. “Who can compete here with all the IDA giveaways they are handing out like candy?
“County government must focus more on real job creation and get away from the direction of the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency that now provides huge tax breaks for businesses that end up creating only a handful of jobs. We must evaluate the productivity of the IDA. We don’t need construction projects with out-of-state workers subsidized by the taxpayers of Niagara County.”
According to Srock, the IDA is giving tax breaks out so fast that they aren’t even reading the fine print.
“It was amazing to me to read in the paper last week that Rick Updegrove, who was the chairman of the economic development committee, when Yahoo! was given their IDA PILOT, (resulting in tax breaks for Yahoo in Niagara County) didn’t even know that $3.5 million was being sent to a Buffalo group,” said Srock.
Srock said he thinks Godfrey is a good man, but feels the people of the 10th District need someone willing to stand up and speak out against the Republican super-majority.
“I am running to represent the public and not the special interest groups. That is the only way we can start to help people around here, by standing up and calling out wasteful contracts and expenditures,” said Srock.
Despite being a Democrat, Srock, an avid hunter and war re-enactor, has been critical of fellow Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s SAFE Act that many say severely reduces the rights found in the Second Amendment. He believes the law was a direct result of party-line towing, goose stepping lawmakers being afraid to stand up for individual rights on issues.
“It’s a shame and a huge loss of liberty,” said Srock.
He said this race is important in order to help ensure that Niagara County gets its financial house in order.
“I’m fiscally conservative and I have witnessed this county budget explode during the current leadership’s control. Expenditures are far outpacing revenues and every year they come back asking for more tax increases to catch up,” said Srock.
According to the Tax Foundation of Washington, D. C., for the last eight years Niagara County has been ranked as either the highest or second highest-taxed county in the USA as measured in proportion to the value of its real estate.
It may be coincidental, but the "highest taxed in the nation" ranking came a few years after the Republicans came into power in the legislature.
Srock said he can be an effective advocate in calling on state and county government to get the Wilson harbor cleaned up and make sure water levels are kept so that local businesses are not hurt.
Srock also said he wants to pressure utilities - both public and private -to provide “fair and affordable rates” for Niagara County residents. “High utility rates inside this overly-taxed county hurt retirees, families and businesses. We continue to lose jobs to neighboring states and the sunbelt where businesses and families find cheaper rates than we have here. We cannot accept this when Niagara County remains a significant energy producer.”
Niagara County Democratic Chairman Nick Forster, who said he will announce a new county legislative candidate every week until there is a candidate facing every one of the dozen Republicans on the 12-3 super majority, is supporting Srock, although he acknowledges Srock will have to work hard to win in his district which is heavily Republican.
"I want to end the one-party rule and cronyism that has made county government an engine, not for job growth, but for partisanship and self-dealing,” Forster said.
|Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr.||www.niagarafallsreporter.com||