Nojay, Weaver face off for state Assembly seat

James Battaglia

The 133rd District of the New York State Assembly includes parts of Steuben County, including Hornell, Hornellsville, Wayland and Cohocton. This year, Republican/Independence candidate Bill Nojay and Democratic candidate Randy Weaver face off for the Assembly seat.

Here, the candidates answer questions on key issues:

Bill Nojay   AGE 55

OCCUPATION Small business owner, attorney

FAMILY Wife Debbie; Children Matt, Kiva, Elizabeth

PARTY ENDORSEMENTS Republican,

Independence

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT Former chair of the board, Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority; Former chair and current director, Al Sigl Center Housing Corp.; former EMT/Driver, Pittsford Ambulance; former girls soccer coach, Pittsford Mustangs Travel Soccer; secretary/treasurer, Foundation for Democracy in Iran; Former election observer and democracy worker in several countries.

What would you say are the top three issues in this year’s campaign for your office?

Our region's economy continues to shrink, hemorrhaging jobs and seeing capital invested elsewhere. To create jobs and grow our economy we need to stop the expansion of government programs and their associated costs, which give us the highest tax burdens in the nation. We need to encourage the private sector to grow here. To do that we need to lower taxes by reducing mandates on local government, reduce Medicaid and other costly New York government programs, and control government labor costs including the pensions and benefits we cannot afford.

What is your definition of a public servant, and why did you choose to seek this office at this time?

I believe in the original concept of a citizen legislator, who accepted the call of public service duty for a limited time and then returned to their real job. I have never worked for government before; all my previous positions were volunteer jobs. Although we have some very fine people serving in the State Legislature, after a few years it’s time to move on and let fresh blood come in. The idea of "career legislators" who just seem to be there forever is not healthy for our government, our economy or taxpayers.

What specific experience, either professional or personal, do you have that would uniquely inform you as you tackle the duties of the elective office you are seeking?

My work as a private business owner gives me the vantage of someone who pays the bills and balances the checkbook. Lifelong government people seem to lose sight of whose money they are spending.

The endless posturing and spinning of politicians is not something we would tolerate in private business, and we shouldn't accept it from our legislators either. The other experience I've had over the years has been traveling across the U.S. and around the world — 36 countries to date — seeing what works and what doesn't in other economies and forms of doing business. In New York State we have a government we simply can't afford, and the highest taxes in the world to pay for it, and our competitors are eating our lunch. Let's get competitive again — let's go back to being the Empire State.

Randy Weaver - AGE 53

OCCUPATION Pharmacist

FAMILY Married 29 years, three children; two sons, 25 and 22, daughter, 20

PARTY ENDORSEMENTS Democrat

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT 2nd term County Legislator, Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Hornell Partners for Growth, SSC workforce board, Lions Club, American Legion SAL, AmVets, Our Lady of the Valley Parish.

What would you say are the top three issues in this year’s campaign for your office?

Jobs. Unfunded and under-funded state mandates. Future of hydrofracking

What is your definition of a public servant, and why did you choose to seek this office at this time?

My definition of a public servant is someone who gives of themselves for their community. It does not always have to be in a political area, it also includes volunteer work.

The reasons I chose to seek this office at this time are many. As a county legislator, I see firsthand how what happens in Albany affects those downstream. I also feel that many of the needs of the area included in and surrounding the 133rd district are not met. As a business owner, I have firsthand knowledge of the detrimental effects many of the taxes and fees have on the business climate.

What specific experience, either professional or personal, do you have that would uniquely inform you as you tackle the duties of the elective office you are seeking?

Professionally, being a pharmacist allows me to be on the forefront of the medical provider debate. As New York State employs the recommendations of the Medicaid redesign team, I am highly qualified to examine the process and understand what effects it will have not only on the recipients of the service, but also, what impact it will have on the providers of the service.

As a county legislator, I am already dealing with many of the same issues that are being dealt with in the Assembly.