ELLERY - Rick Lazio worked his way west on Monday, with campaign stops in Monroe County and Buffalo before a tour of Chautauqua County's new methane-to-electric power plant.
The Republican candidate for governor spoke of creating jobs, partnering with local governments, driving down state taxes and eliminating mandates if elected.
Lazio and Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards secured the backing of the state Republican Party last week, and prior to that received the state Conservative Party's endorsement.
County Executive Greg Edwards discusses the county’s methane-to-electric power plant with Rick Lazio, Republican candidate for governor, on Monday.
P-J photo by Nicholas L. Dean
Specific to Chautauqua County, Lazio addressed the time it took for the new methane-to-electric plant to be completed - saying his administration will work to have permits for such projects more quickly approved.
"Greg was telling me it took four years of moving through the bureaucratic machine and overcoming obstacles and tenacious permitting processes," Lazio said. "Most politicians would have given up and said, 'Listen, my successor will do it.' But that's not the kind of guy Greg Edwards is. He says, 'There's a problem out there and there's a solution to it and I'm going to stick with it until we get it solved.' That's exactly what we're going to do at the state level."
From "cutting through the red tape" to working to demystify Albany, Lazio spoke of bringing change to the state's capital.
"I think that there is a lot of frustration and distrust around Albany," Lazio said of state residents. "They look at the people that go to Albany and they say one thing and do another. They're looking for leaders who will do the right thing, even if the political consequences are tough - even if it means you doing the right thing and by doing the right thing you end your political career.
"People want that sense of conviction and political courage," Lazio continued. "Someone like Greg Edwards epitomizes that. I think so many of the problems in Washington and Albany come down to one word - character. It's the public character of getting the job done and remembering you serve the public. They come first and your job should be looking out for the next generation, not looking out for the next election."
Calling Lazio "a quality guy," Edwards spoke of the commitment the candidate for governor has made to Western New York. Lazio too spoke of his focus on the whole state and the importance of enabling residents.
"New York state can't be worthy of being called the Empire State if Western New York is not thriving," Lazio said. "We've seen time and time again the ingenuity of New Yorkers, the drive and creativity and the entreprenurial drive of these people. We just need to make sure that we unleash that creativity and the state stands as a partner, not a master, but as a partner."
Questioned about how Lazio has been received by Upstate, Edwards said residents are excited.
"Upstate has welcomed Rick Lazio with open arms, anxiously listening to what he wants to deliver and what he will deliver for the state," Edwards said. "I can tell you from somebody on the inside, that's a lot different from some of the receptions that people get. There's a lot of skepticism. They call Missouri the 'Show Me' state. Upstate is the same way. And from what I've seen, people are excited about Rick. ... He's serious about what he says. He delivers on what he promises and I can tell you from watching the last days and days before, upstate is excited about having Rick in charge."