With longtime Republican Assemblyman Brian Kolb of Victor stepping down at the end of the year after two decades in office, four people — two from Seneca County and two from Ontario County — are vying for the chance to succeed him in the June 23 GOP primary.

Early voting began June 13 and runs until June 21 and can be done at the Ontario County Board of Elections, 2930 County Road 48, Hopewell, and the Seneca County Board of Elections at the Seneca County Office Building, 1 DiPronio Drive, Waterloo. Early voting hours vary by day. Go to your county’s board of elections website for specific information.

Voting also is being done by mail-in absentee ballot for the primary. All registered Republicans should have received an absentee application for a ballot and are urged to return them as soon as possible. Thousands are expected to skip polling stations and instead vote by mail, said Charlie Evangelista and Mike Northrup, the Democratic and Republican election commissioners, respectively, for Ontario County.

The winner will face off in November against the presumed Democratic nominee, Matt Miller of Canandaigua.

The candidates (in alphabetical order by last name):

Jeff GallahanAge: 61

Address: County Road 7, Manchester

Experience: Started as journeyman machinist at General Railway Signal Co.; went on to leadership positions at Harrison Industrial Supply; he and wife, Lynn, own CR7 Food Trailer and Catering; serves as Manchester town supervisor (11 years); member of four local sportsmen clubs; member Sons of the American Legion; Board of Directors Clifton Springs YMCA.

Why are you running for the Republican nomination?

We need to bring real world experience to Albany. There are enough career politicians and people who have never signed the front of a paycheck in public office, which is part of the reason upstate New York is losing both jobs and people. To get our state moving forward, we need leaders who will actually work for taxpayers, not the lobbyists and party bosses. There are a lot of problems with our state, but there is also a lot of opportunity that I believe we can harness to improve our economy, drive job growth and reduce taxes so our children and seniors can afford to stay here. I bring a practical, businesses-minded approach to the job and I would be honored to put that experience to work on behalf of the taxpayers of our region.

What do you believe are the key issues for the 131st Assembly District?

First and foremost my focus will be on serving the people of our region. As town supervisor of Manchester, I have an open-door policy. I will maintain that as an assemblyman. I believe in holding town hall-style meetings and actually getting real input from the people — which is who every elected official should be working for. We deserve a representative who is accessible and will work to get issues resolved, no matter how small or large.

We need to create a business climate that drives job creation. That means supporting our small businesses and farms and making sure they have trained and qualified workers. As someone who began their career on a factory floor and worked their way to a management job, I know what it takes to recruit, hire and train workers as well as grow a business. As assemblyman, I will bring key business and agricultural leaders together with our local educators or community colleges to join together to address the very real challenges local companies face in finding qualified employees and growing their businesses.

We don’t need more politicians talking about how “they” created jobs, we need leaders who will actually bring the right folks to the table and plot a path forward that will make our community better for everyone. Government doesn’t create jobs, hard-working men and women who take a risk to build a better future do.

What are the larger issues for the state?

First and foremost we need to work to repeal Governor Cuomo’s so-called bail reform law that is releasing murderers and rapists onto our streets. We all want the same thing for our communities — safe streets, good schools, reasonable taxes and jobs. We cannot achieve these goals if we have a criminal justice system that only protects the criminals at the expense of law-abiding citizens.

Lots of candidates talk about guns and the Second Amendment at election time only. I am not that guy. I am proud to be a life member of the NRA and to have started the Red Jacket Trapshooting Club. This program teaches trap shooting to high school students, and we compete across the state. I will never compromise on the Second Amendment and protecting the rights of my constituents.

We need to reign in Gov. Cuomo and his executive orders, which is why I support Sen. Helming and Assemblyman DiPietro’s efforts to strip him of his power to pass executive orders and totally ignore the other branches of government.

Why do you think Republicans should vote for you?

I am not a career politician. I know what it takes to work hard, start at the bottom and build a better life for myself and my family. We don’t need more politicians in Albany trying to use the right buzz words, suck up to Gov. Cuomo and climb the political ladder. As assemblyman, I will go to Albany and be the taxpayers’ watchdog and put my experience to work for taxpayers.

Any other thoughts you’d like to convey?

I am proud to have the support and endorsement of the Conservative Party. This is in recognition of my record as a fiscal conservative who safeguards tax dollars. The Conservative Party endorsement is also a strong recognition of my record of supporting and defending the Second Amendment.

Ann Marie HeizmannAge: 53

Address: Gravel Road, Seneca Falls

Experience: As Seneca County Farm Bureau president lobbied in Albany on behalf of the area for a decade; awarded Rotary Paul Harris Fellowship for Service above Self for her community volunteerism.

Why are you running for the Republican nomination?

My experience in lobbying showed me how much could be accomplished by just developing relationships and working with others. I felt if I could do that fulltime, rather than in a part-time volunteer position, I could accomplish a tremendous amount more and help our community.

What do you believe are the key issues for the 131st Assembly District?

Getting rid of regulations and lowering taxes. There are too many burdens placed on small businesses and farmers in the area. When combined with the unfunded mandates, it’s no wonder why people are leaving New York. We need to put a stop to that. We also need to take care of our watershed. As a former chemist, working with Homeland Security and the Department of Defense on keeping our water supply safe, I believe I can bring insight to a problem that is especially important to our community, while allowing farms to prosper as well.

What are the larger issues for the state?

Getting back to the Constitution. The dictatorial powers taken on by our governor, Andrew the Benevolent, have turned us from one-party rule to one-man rule. Our Legislature needs to legislate, our judicial branch needs to rule on the constitutionality of the laws created and our governor needs to stop trying to be a king while being solely worried about his TV ratings.

Why do you think Republicans should vote for you?

We’ve seen what career politicians can do. It’s time to put regular people back in office. A plumber who understands that certain items roll down hill, thus he would understand the issues with unfunded mandates. A carpenter who knows that a solid foundation is required for success, so the current budgets that continue to get passed would not be acceptable. Finally, we need a farmer, someone who works hard, makes due with what they have, is innovative, efficient and most importantly, brings a level of common sense to a government out of control. Someone who understands that this is a public service position, not a career.

Jeff ShipleyAge: 44

Address: East Avenue, Waterloo

Experience: President and CEO of Seneca County Chamber of Commerce (2010-present); elected board chair, NYS Chamber Association; board member of Seneca County Industrial Development Agency; advisory committee member, Finger Lakes Regional Airport; former legislative staffer for the Office of the Minority Leader, New York State Assembly

Why are you running for the Republican nomination?

I am running for the Republican nomination because we need an energetic, passionate leader in Albany to fight for our values and our way of life. Over the past two years, Gov. Cuomo and radical New York City politicians have pursued a dangerous economic and social agenda that is crushing our economy, trampling on our constitutional rights and forcing millions of people to leave New York state. I want to do something about it and will put my experiences to work for us.

What do you believe are the key issues for the 131st Assembly District?

The biggest issue facing the 131st District is rebuilding our economy. We must help local businesses overcome the devastating impacts caused by the state’s COVID-19 shutdown. In turn, this also will help restore sustainable jobs for many of our hardworking neighbors that have been forced out of the workforce. Our next Assembly representative must be able to quickly navigate state resources and identify rapid solutions to help facilitate necessary growth and development for the small businesses in our communities. Agriculture is the top industry in both counties of the 131st Assembly District. Perhaps no other industry has been targeted by out-of-touch, downstate lawmakers more than our farmers. I will lead the effort to repeal the farmworker labor laws that have increased costs on struggling family farms and consumers. In addition to understanding the needs of small businesses in both Seneca and Ontario counties, I also have proven experience in fighting for pro-business economic policies at the state level.

What are the larger issues for the state?

While the economy is the biggest issue facing our state, there are several other priorities that must be addressed. According to the state’s most recent financial forecast, it is expected to take up to four years to recover to last year’s level. While many state officials are waiting for a federal government bailout, the time is now to fight for measures that will cut spending, eliminate fraud/abuse and reform the over-regulation of our state. We must push back against the runaway social activism that has attacked our values and made our communities weaker. The disrespect for our law enforcement and the governor’s attacks on our Second Amendment must end, and as our next assemblyman I will fight to stop it. More work needs to be done towards improving our state’s mental health program, particularly as it relates to our veterans. Each year, these services are politicized in the budget process and relegated to non-essential status. I will lead the fight to address these shortcomings and work to ensure that our nation’s heroes receive the attention that their service and sacrifice rightfully deserve. Finally, education does not need to be re-imagined in this state — it needs to be reinvigorated. Distance learning is no substitute for in-person experiences and our future leaders desperately need the skills, relationships and bonds that come from social interaction.

Why do you think Republicans should vote for you?

I have a unique set of skills and experiences that make me the most well-rounded candidate for state Assembly. I was born and raised here and have spent much of my career communicating the area’s values and way of life to others. I am the only candidate that has worked in the state Assembly and led a statewide advocacy organization. I will not be learning on the job; I will be fighting for change from day one. I believe in a state that doesn’t have one of the worst tax climates in the nation; that actually helps businesses create jobs and opportunity for its residents; that manages its social welfare programs as hand-ups not hand-outs; and that doesn’t tread on the rights of its citizens. This is the type of change that we need to fight for in Albany. As your next assemblyman, I will fight for you every single day and together we will make this a better place to live, work, visit and raise a family.

Cindy WadeAge: 62

Address: Pickering Street, Canandaigua

Experience: 10 years in local government, eight on Canandaigua City Council, often the only Republican (always serving in the minority and accomplishing goals); 30-plus years business experience focusing on analytics, finance, strategic planning and problem solving; earned masters of business administration.

Why are you running for the Republican nomination?

To continue the great work Brian Kolb has done. He has been a true champion for our district, always supporting the people here. I believe I am the person to follow in his footsteps to continue the fight. As a strong Republican woman, with strong family values, I have lived, worked and contributed to the 131st Assembly District all my life. I understand both the challenges and promise our region faces, and I will use that knowledge to advance the interests of the District. I don’t just say I am a fiscal conservative. My record proves that I am, by never exceeding the tax cap in all my years on the Canandaigua City Council. As your next state Assembly member, I will bring this same passionate commitment to fiscal responsibility to Albany.

What do you believe are the key issues for the 131st Assembly District?

One: The Farm Workers Fair Labor Act, along with a rising minimum wage, is crushing our farms. Agriculture is a key industry in our district, providing jobs and income for many. NYC purchases fresh products from neighboring states where the minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Our farms cannot compete; 200 farms closed last year! This is completely unacceptable, and we need to reverse this trend!

Two: Economic recovery. The COVID-19 lockdowns have devastated our district. We need a solid strategic economic plan for all businesses to get back up and running at 100 percent and to grow. The governor’s reopening plans have created too much confusion and anxiety. The lives and livelihoods of many hang in the balance. The time for re-opening and to do it safely, is long overdue!

What are the larger issues for the state?

Taxes, spending and irresponsible legislation are out of control in New York state due to the governor and the Democrats’ radical left agenda. Over 1.4 million residents and taxpayers have already left New York. Unfunded mandates passed without understanding any costs and passing them on to localities that cannot afford them. One prime example is Medicaid. Ontario County’s Medicaid bill is $50 million annually. County taxpayers currently pay 54 percent, or $27 million. The governor is proposing reducing the state’s Medicaid contribution, shifting additional financial burden to our taxpayers. This cost-shifting game with unfunded mandates is financially unsustainable for localities, and we need to reform the process. That is a fight I am ready, willing and able to take on.

New York state has the worst reputation for having an unfriendly business climate. This attitude needs to change. When you send me to Albany, I will fight for pro-growth business policies and legislation so we can truly live up to being called the Empire State.

Let’s look at the Bail Reform Law. Let’s look at the Green Light Law. Let’s look at Farm Workers Fair Labor Act. All proposed by downstate legislators, intent on destroying upstate New York. We’re losing businesses. We’re losing farms. We are losing population because people are fed up with high cost of taxes, not the weather as the governor claims. We need to stop this type of legislation. We’re not the same as downstate, and we really need to reinforce that point. I will stand up to these downstate legislators. I will make a difference.

Why do you think Republicans should vote for you?

I am the only candidate in the race with a proven fiscally conservative record, which my City Council budgets reflect. I voted no every year for a salary raise for council members.

I am the only candidate that has served in the minority party, but accomplished a lot by working with colleagues of a different political party. I did this by finding new ways to raise revenue without raising taxes, proposed today’s more aesthetically pleasing Canandaigua downtown streetscape and drafted and helped implement the city’s strategic plan.

I possess 10 years of successful local government experience and 30-plus years of business experience in multiple areas of concentration.

I am a problem solver, work well with people and on day one, I will be ready and prepared to start working and fighting for the district.

Any other thoughts you’d like to convey?

As a lifelong resident of the district, as a wife, mother, caregiver and daughter of one of our area’s great civic servants, Boyd Patterson, I’ll take my love of the 131st District to Albany and passionately fight for our values in the state Assembly. As your next state Assembly member, I will insist on more fiscal accountability, restore common sense to keep our state safe. I will fight against any legislative attempts to infringe on our Constitutional rights, and I will fight to roll back burdensome regulations that inhibit our abilities to earn a decent paycheck, create good-paying jobs, raise a family, and enjoy life in Ontario and Seneca counties.

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