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JUNE 24 - JULY 02, 2014

Disabled Dem to Face Conrad in Lewiston Ahlas, a newcomer, will challenge Republican in Council Race

June 24, 2014

Keith “Casey” Ahlas will run as a Democrat for Lewiston town board.
Republican William Conrad will seek election this November.

The Niagara Falls Reporter has learned that Keith "Casey" Ahlas, a disabled man, is circulating petitions for a planned run for Lewiston Town Board as a Democrat.

He will square off against William Conrad in a special election, caused by the resignation of Councilman Ernie Palmer who quit earlier this year, half-way through his four year term.

Ahlas is originally from Niagara Falls and has been a resident of the Village of Lewiston for over 12 years. He is married to Michelle Alexis Ahlas, and has a stepson named Brandon.

Ahlas has been employed for the last six years with Livingston International Custom Brokers as an analyst.

As for his political history, he has helped with petitions, and worked on the campaign of James Joyce for county coroner some years back.

But he is no political insider.

"I am a concerned citizen," he said. "Much like a lot of us, I have become sort of disenchanted with the political process and how things are run. My goal is to be more accessible to people and their concerns.

"One issue that concerns me is the lack of parking within the town and the village for outdoor summer events, and being disabled myself, the lack of handicapped parking.

"I attend many of the festivals, and concerts. I try to also attend as many outings as I can, and my wife and I try to frequent many of the restaurants and local businesses here. I find this to be a great area to live and raise a family and want to contribute to that in the best way possible."

Ahlas Facebook page hints at his political outlook which appears somewhat left of center.

He lists an extensive list of "Likes" on his page which include, "I Love Being Black,""Hate Liberals Bite me," the cartoon "Wonder Woman" and the Facebook page of Wonder Woman TV actress Lynda Carter; "Kicking Ass for the Middle Class," "Duck Dynasty Fans" and gay rights activist and Star Trek actor, George Takai.

He lists for Favorite Activities "Stuff White People Like."

One of his past profile pictures was a picture with a slogan, "Vaginas. Deserve. Respect."

This election year, some believe, will be a referendum on the Republican Town Board, which has been, critics say, on a spending spree.

Ahlas opponent, Conrad, was appointed by the town board following Palmer's resignation. Conrad told the Reporter he definitely plans to run for election.

Whoever is elected, if they seek to remain in office, will have to run again next year. This year's election will determine who will finish the one year remaining on Palmer's term. Next year's election (2015) will be for a full four year term.

Under the leadership of former supervisor Steven L. Reiter, the town went from a self-sustaining town to one in danger of facing a town tax in the next few years.

In Lewiston, where supervisors and police officers steal town gas with impunity, where the town assumes the obligations of a money-losing State Park, the Joseph Davis, at a cost of more than one million dollars, and quaintly, while failing to fix the leaky roof on their own senior center, the board votes to give more than $150,000 per year to subsidize beer guzzling concerts for Artpark & Company, Inc., and approve their own supervisor's ill-planned Bridgewater senior luxury cum possible low income apartment complex without an environmental study, anything can happen.

Of late, the Republicans act more like liberal Democrats, and the sole Democrat on the board, Supervisor Dennis Brochey, acts like a fiscal conservative.

It is not clear where Ahlas, who seems to favor a more liberal political outlook, or Conrad who seems a more traditional Republican, will stand if they are elected.

Many Republicans expressed regret, if not consternation, that Palmer had to quit early. If Palmer had waited until August to resign, this special election would not have occurred, and the, what is, in effect, an early referendum on how well the Republican board is doing would have been postponed until 2015.

Should Ahlas win the town board will have three Republicans and two Democrats.

Conrad, who was appointed to the board three months ago, hopes that won't happen.

He told the Reporter he plans to vote and act independently of political affiliation while he serves on the board and that he plans to act as a fiscal conservative when it comes to town expenditures.





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