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Dems Endorse Republican O'Laughlin to Take on Ross

"It's Time for a change. We need fresh blood and new ideas.... Let me try!" ~ Sean O'Laughlin

At a full membership meeting, the Niagara County Democratic Committee endorsed the candidacy of Sean O'Laughlin to represent the 2nd District in the Niagara County Legislature. O'Laughlin is challenging William Ross, chairman of the legislature, for the seat.

O'Laughlin is a Town of Wheatfield resident and the district includes that area and a large portion of the Town of Lewiston.

"We are stuck in a rut in Niagara County and this must be changed," O' Laughlin says. "My opponent has been chairman of the legislature longer than anyone and we have the distinction of being the second highest taxed county in the nation. We must change that direction and restore the county as a place where businesses want to be."

O'Laughlin wants better use of tax incentives administered through the Niagara County industrial Development Agency. He also advocates more programs to support agriculture in the county.

"We need to be more creative and supportive of farming in Lewiston, Wheatfield and throughout the county," O'Laughlin said. "Growth in agriculture and related businesses has great, untapped potential here."

O'Laughlin is presently a registered Republican and is also seeking that party's nomination in the upcoming primary election. "Good policies are far more important to me than party politics" O'Laughlin says.

Niagara County Democratic Chairman, Nick Forster says, "Sean O'Laughlin is the kind of person we need to turn Niagara County around. He wants to end the good old boy system, cronyism and blind partisanship that mark the tenure of Bill Ross in Lockport."

O'Laughlin has lived in Wheatfield for 30 years and he and his wife Marianne raised three children there. Their son Sean was a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army for eight years, serving two tours of duty in Iraq. The candidate has worked for Unifrax, formally part of the Carborundum Company, for 37 years.

"I'm fortunate to have been with the same organization for all those years," O'Laughlin says. "But there are few of those jobs left in Niagara County. We need to change that and reduce taxes to attract new business and provide a better future for our kids."

O' Laughlin has an associate's degree in business administration from Niagara County Community College, a bachelor's degree in economics from the State University College at Buffalo and master's degree in business administration from Niagara University.

O'Laughlin is a member of St. Vincent de Paul Parish. For 20 years he worked on fundraising campaigns for United Way of Niagara. He has been long active in programs for Niagara Cerebral Palsy (NCP) serving as a board member and treasurer. His work was recognized with the NCP Family of the Year Award in 2011 and the Humanitarian of the Year Award in 2012.

O'Laughlin's family has a long tradition of public service. His father, the late Paul O'Laughlin, served as a Niagara Falls police officer for more than 30 years. His uncle, the late Michael O'Laughlin, was the four-term mayor of Niagara Falls.

"I want to work in the county legislature to help bring economic growth so people don't have leave to find a job. It's that simple."

Forster says this will be Ross's first real test in more than a decade and with the redistricting he is in new territory where he is not as well known. Noting that O'Laughlin is a Republican while Ross is a registered Conservative, Forster said, "Bill is going to face a (Republican) primary from Sean and, if he survives that, he will face Sean in the general election," said Forster. "I like our odds. It is certainly time for a change."



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

JUN 11, 2013