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Wydysh seeks second term on Niagara County Legislature

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Mon, Jun 5th 2017 07:40 pm
Freshman lawmaker leading county opioid fight
Freshman Niagara County lawmaker Becky Wydysh launched her re-election campaign on Monday, pledging to "continue working for my neighbors in Lewiston and Wheatfield and for families all over our county."
Wydysh, who lives in the Village of Lewiston, said she has worked hard to represent interests from her far-ranging district, which includes not only the hot-spot village with its successful downtown, but rural spaces in Lewiston and Sanborn and the hamlet of Bergholz.
"These are all great people," she said. "The thing that unifies this district, though, is that my constituents keep telling me they want to protect their families."
Wydysh has spent her first term in office doing precisely that. She is chairwoman of the county's opioid addiction/overdose strategy implementation standing committee, or OASIS, the task force charged with developing a unified strategy across the county's 12 towns, three cities and five villages for combatting opioid and heroin abuse and utilizing new technologies like Narcan, the potent drug that can stop an overdose in its tracks. Wydysh has held several high-profile community meetings around the county.
"When I came to the county legislature, I told my colleagues I wanted to make a difference where my own knowledge and experience could really have an impact," Wydysh said. "As the president of the board of directors of the Mental Health Association in Niagara County, the wife of the district attorney's chief drug crimes prosecutor, a court system employee and most, importantly, a mom, I have been able to move this issue forward."
Recently, Wydysh met with federal antidrug officials to study antiopiate educational programs that have succeeded in other communities.
"Moms all across the county keep telling me that they just want their kids to be safe, and I've considered that my main objective in government," she said.
Despite taking on a prominent countywide role as a freshman, Wydysh has paid attention to her district, as well. Over the past year and a half, she has secured funding for the Lewiston Art Festival, the Niagara County Peach Festival - which celebrates its 60th season this year - and the Historic Lewiston Jazz Festival. She also has obtained funds for the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce, the Das Haus Museum in Bergholz, the Wheatfield Lions Club, the Niagara Military Affairs Council, and local volunteer fire companies.
Wydysh also supported the use of Niagara River Greenway funds to aid the Sanborn Area Farm Museum's parking lot improvements.
"Becky has really paid close attention to her constituents' needs, and ensured that cultural centers in her district have been able to continue educating the public and drawing visitors to downtown," said Niagara County Legislature Majority Leader Randy Bradt, R-North Tonawanda. "But we value her in county government, because she has really given a strong voice to other young families, keeping their issues on our majority caucus's radar."
Wydysh noted she has spent much of her first term learning the ropes of county government, but said she was confident she could continue to deliver results for her constituents.
"I've found my place, and a role in the caucus I'm comfortable with, and that enabled me to impact not only my district, but countywide policy," Wydysh said. "I've concentrated closely on our efforts to push back on heroin and opiates in the community, but I've also worked to put other issues impacting families on our agenda, and I'm pleased with the results."
Among those results was a county budget that cut spending for the first time in recent memory, and that set the lowest countywide property tax rate this century.
"Government needs to deliver certain services, but it needs to do it in a smart way," Wydysh said. "We will never balance government cuts on the backs of our seniors or our taxpaying families, but we will always work to keep their taxes down."
Wydysh lives in the Village of Lewiston with her husband Peter, an assistant district attorney, and her daughter Hannah, a student at Lewiston-Porter High School. Her son, Ryan, is a senior at Niagara University.
She is the endorsed candidate of the Republican, Independence and Conservative parties.
Petitioning begins this week.

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