There are two contenders for the county Legislator's seat in the first district -- incumbent Rich Lesniak and challenger Joe Coleman. The first district seat represents residents of the town of Lysander and portions of the town of Clay in the Onondaga County Legislature.
The Baldwinsville Messenger recently interviewed the two contestants to learn more about their qualifications and why each is running for the position. Below is Rich Lesniak's profile and answers.
Richard M. Lesniak
Address: 3302 Patchett Road, Baldwinsville
Political Affiliation: Republican, endorsed by Conservative and Independence parties
Political Experience: County Legislature 1999-2000, Lysander Town Board Councilor 2002-2007, County Legislature March 2007 to present
Professional Experience: Retired from Law Enforcement after 25years. Presently chief negotiator for law enforcement and corrections collective bargaining agreements.
Family: Wife Barbara (married 33 years), two daughters, Darcie and Carolyn
Why are you running?
I have worked in public service all my life. I enjoy serving the people, whether it was in law enforcement or as County Legislator. I am still an active fire fighter for the Belgium Cold Springs Fire Department. I serve on the Board of Directors for Friends of Beaver Lake and I am a member of the Liverpool Elks. I find great satisfaction when I can do something to assist a citizen in need, whether it is through the fire service or a constituent that needs help navigating through a government agency.
What is the number one issue facing the county?
Without question, the number one issue is the economy. The recession has not only caused shortfalls of income at home, it has caused shortfalls of income to county government. Having just completed a budget for next year, it was very difficult to come to an agreement about how to solve the $38 million shortfall. As difficult as this budget was, next year could be worse. Our State Government has a tendency to shift their costs to the counties, or now to the school districts, without cutting state spending. I will be surprised if the state does not do that again next year.