The 2013 political race landscape is beginning to take shape in the Town of Hamburg and Walter Rooth III will be the Democratic candidate for town supervisor.
“I’ve always been somewhat involved in the Democratic Party,” Rooth said.
Running for office has been on the back of his mind, and he said the Hamburg Democratic Party approached him and asked him if he was interested in running for the position.
“They thought I’d be a good candidate,” Rooth said.
Before making a final decision, Rooth sought the advice of some former Hamburg Town Supervisors, including Pat Hoak, who told Rooth it was a great experience and a great way to make a difference in the community.
And after talking about the possibility of running for supervisor with his wife, Rooth said he decided to accept the endorsement and will look to unseat Republican Steven Walters, who is the final year of his second term as supervisor.
For Rooth, who has been a practicing attorney for 18 years and has his own law office, his goal has always been about giving back to a town he grew up in and has always called home.
“I always try to do things for the town,” Rooth said, adding he would like “give back to the town and give back to the community.”
Rooth is someone who has always believed in service. He serves as a coach with the Hamburg Little Cagers basketball program and the Hamburg Junior Baseball League. He is also a volunteer for Meals on Wheels, a board member for the Hamburg Counseling Service and is also on the board of directors for the Beechwood/Blocher Foundation.
He said one of the reasons he opted to seek election as supervisor is because he is concerned with the tone of meetings in recent years.
As an attorney, he said he realizes that not everyone is going to agree on a case, just the way a board does over different issues.
But he would like to oversee a board that is “cordial, professional and civil” and can put away their differences on issues outside of the board room and get along.
He believes that a difference of opinion on what is best for the town should not feel like it is becoming “personal.”
Rooth believes the current board struggles to put differences aside and it is not in the best interest of the residents.
“It doesn’t function well,” Rooth said.
The 2013 election will be the first time that the three person board is elected after it reduced to that number in January of 2012. As a result, the supervisor and one council seat will run for four-year terms, while the other council seat will be for a two-year term.
Rooth does not believe that the current issues facing the Town of Hamburg are about the size of the board.
“I don’t have a problem with reducing the size of government,” Rooth said.
He feels the problems facing the town have to do more with the people who run it.
“I’m not sure a five-member board is going to be more effective than a three-member board,” Rooth said, reiterating that he believes the board is dysfunctional.
“The Town of Hamburg deserves better,” Rooth said.
Ultimately, his goals as supervisor would be to create a situation in which he believes the board would function better, and also for it to be more transparent.
“I think there is going to be more decisions on the big issues,” Rooth said.
Rooth, whose law office handles real estate, criminal law, estates and other general practice matters, said he is looking forward to continue going door-to-door to learn what are important issues to the residents of Hamburg. At the same time, he will continue to serve those who have hired him as an attorney.
He believes as someone who has prided himself on community involvement, that he can make a positive change to the people of Hamburg.
“You just get tired of reading these stories in the news,” Rooth said.”We are paying for them to do their jobs. Whoever is on the town board should be treated with respect and dignity.”