New York State Assembly Candidate Bob Restaino, D-Niagara Falls, held a press conference Thursday to refute what he called negative campaigning tactics by his opponent, Assemblyman John Ceretto. Restaino predicted voters will reject what he called his opponent's "filthy character assassinations."
"Our community needs someone who isn't afraid to do what's right. I've got news for Ceretto: People in WNY need a fighter, not a shrinking violet who stands around while the Senecas rip off local taxpayers," Restaino said. "I was hoping we could focus on the issues that affect our families instead of being sidetracked by such personal attacks."
Restaino was referring to his opponent's recent campaign literature that bombarded the district in rapid succession featuring Restaino as wrapped too tight to be an assemblyman.
"I grew up at a time when everyone showed more respect for each other. The cellphone incident personified a lack of respect," Restaino said. "Sadly, we've lost a little bit of that somewhere along the way. If Ceretto really cared about respect, he'd have stood up to the Seneca's lack of respect to us taxpayers."
While a Niagara Falls City Court judge, Restaino was involved in an incident wherein he jailed members of his courtroom after a cellphone went off. He was subsequently removed from the bench by the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct. This has been the subject of direct mail pieces sent out by the Ceretto camp.
"I own a small business in downtown Niagara Falls, so I know firsthand how disrespectful it is for others to be rudely talking on their cellphones," said Sylvia Virtuoso, owner of Guido's Upholstery and Decorating Store. "It's time we have a leader in Albany who we can respect and who will stand up for what's right. I know that Bob Restaino is that leader."
Restaino said he is running on a platform of working with Gov. Andrew Cuomo to redesign Medicaid, obtaining the $100 million owed to the region by the Seneca Nation of Indians, increasing the minimum wage, cutting taxes, protecting health care, securing more state aid for local schools, eliminating the Grand Island Bridge toll, fighting to keep locally produced power in Western New York, encouraging cross-border tourism and rebuilding the local economy and infrastructure.
"This city is struggling and we need someone with a little passion - if that hurts John Ceretto's delicate sensibilities, too bad," Restaino said. "Our region needs real leaders, not another empty suit who just needs a job."