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Group Makes Push For Torres’ Appointment

A group of private citizens in Chautauqua County, primarily women, have joined together to support Luz Torres’ appointment as the Chautauqua County Democratic Election Commissioner.

Torres, Dunkirk resident and a longtime deputy commissioner at the Chautauqua County Board of Elections, was selected to be the next Democratic Election Commissioner by the party in October. Torres would be one of the few women election commissioners in Chautauqua County history and the first Hispanic county department head as well.

Without public explanation, the resolution completing her appointment was withdrawn from the County Legislature’s last meeting agenda in October.

In a letter to Democratic Legislators Christine Starks of Fredonia, Robert Bankoski of Dunkirk, and Charles Nazzaro of Jamestown, the group said, “We together ask you to stand and lead on an important matter for our Chautauqua County community generally and women and Blacks and People of Color particularly. … For too long we have not promoted and encouraged and fully supported qualified women such as Ms. Torres.”

The letter, which was signed by Susan Parker of Fredonia, included the names of 38 other community members. “While many might view this as a partisan matter, we view this as a very public matter,” the letter said. “As you are aware … our election commissioners play a significant role in our democratic society (please note the small ‘d’). Our election commissioners, who are paid by the taxpayers, ensure that residents who wish to vote are protected in that right and provided the opportunity to exercise that right.”

Parker said the group hopes to expand by way of others who are supportive of ensuring the appointment of Torres.

She said that the group expects to reach out to the two remaining Democratic legislators, Legislators Paul Whitford and Robert Whitney, and all of the remaining legislators also. Other than the five Democratic legislators, the remaining legislators are affiliated with the Republican Party.

Parker said she is concerned that Ms. Torre’s promotional appointment is being stopped for unrelated political reasons. “This is a picture-perfect example of what too often happens to well-qualified individuals,” Parker said. “There is little or no thought or concern for them as individuals. They are easily discounted and cast aside. We want that to stop. Ms. Torres is most deserving, and she should be appointed.”

A meeting of the Chautauqua County Legislature will take place tonight in Mayville at 6:30 p.m.

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