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Tea Party Conservative to Challenge Maziarz in Primary

Johnny Destino may run as Democrat in General Election

Sen. George Maziarz
Gia Arnold to primary Maziarz.

State Sen. George D. Maziarz (R-Newfane) will face at least one and possibly two challenges this year in his quest for re-election to the senate in the 62nd District.

The district includes Niagara County, Orleans County and a portion of Monroe County and is comprised of a rural, Republican plurality. As of the 2010 census, there are 292,166 residents in the 62nd District.

Republican Gia Arnold, 24, of Clarendon, Orleans County, a married mother of three, announced last Saturday she will run in the Republican primary against Maziarz, 60, who first assumed office in 1995, when she was five years old. Arnold is a coordinator for the New York Revolution, a grassroots organization formed after the SAFE Act was passed last January. NY Revolution holds rallies to urge gun owners to register and vote to unseat Andrew Cuomo as governor in November.

While it has not been officially announced, Democrat Johnny Destino, 37, a lawyer, a Niagara Falls School board member, and a former Republican who ran against Maziarz in the 2012 primary, told the Niagara Falls Reporter he is exploring a run. Maziarz defeated Destino by a margin of 69 percent to 31 percent (10,000 votes cast) in the 2102 Republican primary, and then went on to defeat Democrat Amy Hope Witryol in the general election, 61.4 percent to 37.6% (112,994 votes cast).

Maziarz, vice president pro tempore of the State Senate, says the main goals his constituents expect him to work towards are relief from taxes, the restoration of Western New York's economic health and job base, crime prevention and victims' assistance, and increased attention to senior citizens' needs.

Maziarz was one of 18 senators to vote against the SAFE Act in 2013 and supports an effort to see the measure repealed.

In her announcement speech at the Giacomo Hotel in Niagara Falls Saturday evening, Arnold said lowering taxes, increasing personal freedom, improving education, job growth, a better business environment, restoring integrity in Albany and repealing the SAFE Act are part of her platform. "We all know that Albany is broken, but when is it time for all of us to do more than talk about it?" she asked. "...How many of our residents have to flee this area under a huge burden of taxes and spending?... How far do we allow our constitutional rights to be chipped away at before we really do something about it? I support strengthening personal freedom in NY and preserving individual liberty as being of utmost importance..."

Referring to state corporate welfare initiatives designed to attract businesses to relocate to the state, Arnold said she thinks the state is quick to offer incentives and tax breaks for new businesses, but does little to help existing enterprises. "There is too much focus on new businesses. What about the people who are already here and struggling?"



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

Mar 25, 2014