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In Special Election, Consider Candidate Closest To The Center

Congressional representatives connected to Chautauqua County and the Southern Tier in recent decades have had a reputation for seeking out the middle ground.

Amory Houghton, a fiscal Conservative who served for nine terms in the rural district from 1987 to 2005, was highly respected while known for clashing at times with fellow Republicans. Houghton also made headlines when he was one of four from his party to vote against the impeachment of President Bill Clinton for lying about the affair with Monica Lewinsky.

One of his successors included Tom Reed, whose resignation in May led to this special election that is underway in early voting and includes an official Election Day of Tuesday. Reed took plenty of criticism from Democrats for often voting with the right. However, he also worked tirelessly by formerly co-chairing the Problem Solvers Caucus that had a mission of changing the divisive culture of Capitol Hill.

Our country remains in desperate need for more of these individuals in Washington.

While filling the remaining term for Congressional District 23 through Dec. 31 is not enough time to cultivate relationships or create any sort of legacy, it will still give our corner a bit of a voice. That is something this region is lacking at the present time.

In the contest between two solid candidates in Max Della Pia and Joe Sempolinski, we give the nod to the one we see as being more in the middle than on the far end of the spectrum. Della Pia is a closer fit to Reed and Houghton — especially on the current campaign trail — than Sempolinski.

Consider this recent remark by the 32-year Air Force veteran and retired colonel during a stop in both Dunkirk and Jamestown regarding his views on going to Washington. “We need to start talking with one another and instead of poking each other in the eye,” Della Pia said. “The divisiveness in politics today has created an unbearable environment for all of us. We need to focus on what brings us together as Americans and not what pulls us apart. We can agree to disagree on some issues but we need to focus on a couple issues we can agree on to move the country and our constituents’ interests forward.”

Sempolinski’s ties to this district are strong as he advocated for Chautauqua County while previously working as an aide for Reed. Unfortunately, he has been the odd man out when it comes to serving his party.

Since 2021, Sempolinski has been obsessed with representing this district in Congress. But higher profile party names — and much larger campaign coffers of Carl Paladino and state Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy — have shut him out of being a part of the November race.

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