Former Niagara Falls City Council member Chris Robins, (D) Niagara Falls has announced his intent to seek election to the Niagara County Legislature in the 5th District for 2020-21. The fifth district seat, which encompasses Town of Niagara, along with the Deveaux and Hyde Park sections of Niagara Falls is currently held by Jason A. Zona, who announced recently he would not be seeking a fifth term in the county post. Robins, an elementary school teacher residing in Deveaux served on the city council from 2006-2009 and choose not to seek re-election at that time, after one term so that he could spend more time with his wife and two young sons. Since that time, almost annually, Robins has been vetted to return to elected office, but he feels now the timing is right to get involved once again in lcoal government.
“I am excited at the opportunity of serving the community in a different capacity, this time in the County Legislature Robins stated. When I decided not to seek re-election to the city council, this city was in a different place. With my sons now teenagers, I want to teach them the importance of public service and spending the last ten years seeing from the outside all of the issues this area has faced, I want to be part of the solution. It’s long past time for the county play a larger role in developing Niagara Falls.”
Since the time he chose not to seek re-election to the city council, Robins has stayed very active locally in the community serving on the boards of Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, Niagara Falls Urban Renewal Agency, NFC Development Corporation, Niagara Junior Purple Eagles and Whirlpool Park Little league, while working as a full time elementary educator.
Zona, the current legislator and Niagara County Democratic Chairman added “ Chris was an extremely popular councilman, and for years, many people have tried to get him back involved politically, myself included. He knows how to get things done. I know he is the best candidate for this position, and I’m thrilled he’s running for the seat. We promised a strong slate of candidates for county office in 2019, and I think this shows were serious about that.”
The fifth district encompasses both neighborhoods of Niagara Falls, as well as the entire Town of Niagara. Town Democratic Chair Geraldine Carpenter mentioned “ I remember Mr. Robins from his time on the city council. Looking at his resume, he’s clearly stayed involved and is extremely qualified to represent us in county government. We look forward to working closely with him in the years ahead.”
The county legislature, which has been dominated by a GOP super majority for well over a decade faces numerous challenges in the coming years. With serious questions on how much federal and state dollars the county will continue to receive, pension costs likely to inflate, infrastructure costs going up and continued annual property tax increases, the county needs to step up it’s economic development efforts and reduce discretionary spending.
Robins added “ I’m obviously familiar with the mandates levied upon us from Albany from my time in city government. With so many unknowns regarding medicaid as well as pension costs, and long time infrastructure issues in the county still on hold, we can not keep going to the property tax payers to foot the bill. I hope to lead on economic development efforts, specifically in Niagara Falls and Town of Niagara where there is so much opportunity wasted. The only way to have long term sustained success here is to grow our local economy and I look forward to working with all local officials, as a team to get this done. I’m extremely excited at the opportunity to serve as a county legislator”