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By: Staff Reporter
Retired Carpenter and Wheatfield resident Daryl T. Bodewes has announced he is seeking to represent the constituents of District 7 in the Niagara County Legislature, which includes part of Wheatfield and North Tonawanda. Bodewes has been endorsed by the Niagara County Democratic Committee.
Bodewes worked as a Union Carpenter and Council Representative for Local 276 and the North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters for 35 years. Bodewes served on the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency (NCIDA) for 2 years from 2018-2020 and was Vice President of the Niagara County Building and Construction Trades Council. Bodewes became a Carpenter in 1985 and was elected as Business Representative in 1996. He was responsible for helping his union reach diversity goals by increasing outreach and access to apprenticeship programs to more people in WNY. Bodewes has lived in the Town of Wheatfield since 2004 with his wife Michelle. They have two children who both attend school in the Niagara Wheatfield School District.
Bodewes, a registered Democrat, will be pursing public office for the first time. He said: “I am no career politician, or attempting to start a long career in politics. As a resident and father, I am simply fed up with the incompetence and overall lack of progress I’m seeing. I’ve worked in the construction industry; Niagara County gets peanuts when it comes to development. It all goes to Erie County where state legislators have influence in Albany, and the business community perceives things to be less tumultuous and corrupt.” He points to the recent hiring of “felons, explicitly racist, and sexual predators to no advertised taxpayer jobs in Niagara County as the most recent example. The Republican majority simply rubber stamps whatever the party bosses want. It’s outrageous.”
Bodewes says his candidacy will be focused on the practical issues facing residents like creating jobs, safer neighborhoods, and restoring public trust and accountability. He believes there are things the County Legislature can do right now that would immediately help. For example, “local labor hiring requirements could be enforced. Too many developers come to the County IDA asking for tax relief and agree to the local labor hiring requirements but there is never any follow up. I also believe if we tied apprentice language to County IDA deals, we would require our tax dollars go to projects that are helping train today’s youth to be tomorrows construction workers. Not everyone is cut out for college, and apprenticeship programs offer an alternative to a very good life.”
According to Bodewes, one other specific safety issue that has led him to run is the intersection at Ward Rd and Niagara Falls Boulevard. “I have young kids, and like many others, I am very concerned nothing is being done. New York State has pushed back the start date for reconstruction year after year. This needs to be priority number one. As a construction representative I have political allies that I can ask to push this project forward and if I win that’s exactly what I will do. My opponent has no such allies and has done nothing to help move the project along beside typical political and divisive rhetoric.”
Other issues Bodewes plans to campaign on are: County IDA reform and wage theft. He says too many contractors are not playing by the rules in the construction industry. These contractors do not pay the prevailing wages and some exploit illegal workers, pay cash and do not pay overtime as required by NYS Law. This needs to stop today.” He points to the Open Government ratings that places the current Niagara County Legislature among the worst of all county legislatures in the state. “Things need to change, and we need to enforce the laws on the books so that all contractors and workers have a fair shot.”