[photo 1]Voters in this year’s State Senate 60th District race will have to decide whether they are happy with incumbent Mark Grisanti or feel a change is needed, with challenger Michael Amodeo, in a pair of key State Senate races.State Senate 60th District
Gristanti, the Republican and Independence candidate, is seeking a second two-year term in the State Senate in the newly redistricted area.
His main opponent is Amodeo, who won a Democratic primary in September, and is hoping to unseat Grisanti.
According to Grisanti, he is pleased with his campaign and is confident he will be successful on Nov. 6.
“Things are going really well,” Grisanti said, noting that he has been hitting the trail feverishly as he is continuing to go door-to-door with a couple of weeks to go.
One of Grisanti’s worries is that he does not want to see representation for upstate be hurt with a new senator, because he said a group of upstate legislators have formed an alliance and will continue to fight for the needs of Upstate New York residents, including those who live in Western New York.
“This isn’t Democrat versus Republican,” Grisanti said.
Like Grisanti, Amodeo is also confident that he can win on election night and represent the 60th District.
“We have an array of volunteers who have moved this grassroots effort forward,” Amodeo said.
He said last Saturday, he had about 50 volunteers who are backing his campaign helping get the word out.
One of Amodeo’s main focuses in this campaign, he said, is if he is elected, he vows to work hard to create jobs in Western New York.
“I want to help small businesses,” Amodeo said.
He said he is alarmed that just under 9 percent of residents in Erie County are unemployed, which he said is about 1 percent higher than the national average.
Amodeo is concerned because recently, he said there has been about 400 private sector jobs lost.
An area where Amodeo and Gristanti differ is that Grisanti said the people he has talked to said they are happy with his work as a state senator, while his challenger sees it differently.
“There’s a lot of voter apathy out there,” Amodeo said, adding it goes back to a key issue.
“I think the driving force is the economy,” he said.
Grisanti said voters he has talked to have been pleased, specifically noting what he feels has been a success with the new property tax cap levy.
“They seem to have a more positive attitude that things are improving,” Grisanti said.
Among the areas that Grisanti said he is continuing to work on includes trying to restore the funding levels at the Hamburg Casino to its 2009 levels. In 2011, the Hamburg Casino was one of eight in the state that saw video gaming lottery revenue cut more than 50 percent as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s state budget. The only one that did not see a reduction was in Yonkers.
Grisanti said he has a good working relationship with the governor and is confident that the money can be restored.
He also said another goal of his is to help create a formula to help funding for school districts. Grisanti pointed to a conversation he had with members of the Hamburg School District that pointed out a disparity in funding to the district while they showed three areas in the state with similar property assessments that receive more state aid.
Amodeo added that he believes with his leadership, he will be a stronger presence for Western New York.
He said if he is elected, he will not be “beholding” to downstate senators.
While he realizes that Grisanti will have the advantage when it comes to television ads, Amodeo pledged he is going to work hard to take his message straight to the voters and his goal over the final two weeks of the campaign is simple. “Get in front of as many voters as I can,” he said.
Two other names will also appear on the ballot, as Gregory Davis will be the Working Families candidate, and Charles Swanick will be the Conservative Party candidate.State Senate 59th District
Barring a write-in campaign, incumbent State Senator Patrick Gallivan – who first won the seat in 2011 – is on par for a second two-year term as he is running unopposed. Gallivan’s name will appear on the Republican, Conservative and Independence lines.