As area politicians begin to campaign for the upcoming New York State 121st Assembly District election in November, Cazenovia village resident Levi Spires has decided to throw his name into the mix.
An entrepreneur and internet-marketing professional, Spires hopes to run on the Republican, Conservative and Independence party lines, and has already received endorsements from both the Madison and Otsego County Republican committees. Spires said he hopes to reduce the tax burden on area businesses and residents by facilitating job growth through adopting a strategy of fiscal prudence, simple government and entrepreneurship.
“The reason why the job market is suffering in this state is because New York makes it difficult to run a business. Not only are taxes high, but regulating and mandates are overwhelming. New York state is a conduit for the federal government right now, and we need to change that,” Spires said. “I’ve decided to get into the arena and stop standing on the sidelines. The reality is, young people have left, and primarily because of the job market. Flexibility and connectivity are the things that will spark the economy in Upstate New York.”
The newly-formed 121st Assembly District covers all of Madison County, much of Otsego County and a portion of Oneida County. Spires will be running against incumbent democrat Assemblyman Bill Magee for the seat. Elections will be held on Nov. 6 across the state.
Spires hopes to ensure politicians in Albany move toward fiscal discipline during this global economic turndown, while simplifying the government by reducing redundant departments, regulations and “seemingly limitless” fees. He believes the government needs to look at being creative in how it operates, in order to curb wasteful spending and increase individual freedoms.
Spires said working professionals who are largely able to work remotely and telecommute would be a perfect fit for Cazenovia and the surrounding areas. He said he believes the quality of life in Madison County far exceeds that of Manhattan, where the incessant commotion and immense concrete buildings can weigh on its residents.
“We live in a beautiful place, somewhere most anyone would want to reside and raise a family. Yet New York continues to rank as the least free state; New York’s government is inhospitable to most businesses,” he said. “Central New York needs to retain our youth and attract new families to move into the area. Since 1980 our district population has decreased by 6 percent. In that same time period, the population of those older than 35 increased by 23 percent. An aging population means less future taxpayers to fund critical government programs. Without change, Central New York will be even more dependent on New York City’s tax base.”
Spires, a former accountant and captain in the United States Air Force, moved to the area in 2007 with his wife Adele after living in Okinawa, Japan. The couple has three children together – Taylor, 14; Joe, 10; and a toddler Charlie – all of whom are (and will be) students of the Cazenovia School District.
Having served in the Air Force for 12 years, Spires was selected for the U.S. Army’s Defense Comptroller Program. He was tasked with attending Syracuse University to earn two degrees: a master’s degree in business administration and master’s degree in public administration, which he received from the Whitman and Maxwell schools, respectively.
Spires spent four years as the vice president of operations for Site-Seeker Inc., an internet marketing firm in New Hartford, before deciding to pursue a seat in the state Assembly about six months ago. He currently serves as Sunday school teacher at Eastern Hills Bible Church and as a volunteer youth sports coach.
“I care about local issues and helping each one of our residents, but I also want to look at it from a larger picture. I want to see this place grow. Jobs are the primary component to any person making the decision to live in Central New York,” Spires said. “I like to think big. Why live in Manhattan, deal with taxes and traffic, when you can raise your family in Cazenovia?”
For more information on the 121st Assembly District, visit assembly.state.ny.us or madisoncounty.org/boe. Additional information on Spires can be found at leviforassembly.levispires.com. To learn more about Bill Magee, visit assembly.state.ny.us/mem/William-Magee.
Pierce Smith is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at 434-8889 ext. 338 or firstname.lastname@example.org.