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Erie County Legislator Erie County Legislative District 10

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    Joseph C. Lorigo (REP, CON, IND, RFM) Attorney

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    Michelle J Schoeneman (DEM, WF, WEP) Teacher

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Biographical Information

How can we deal most effectively with the opioid problem and the need for additional funding to do so?

Infrastructure needs. All legislators complain about needed road repairs, improvements. What are your priorities related to infrastructure needs and why did you select these priorities?

What measures do you support to ensure that our water supply is safe and reliable?

What is the most important issue facing Erie County in the next two years and why is it the most important issue?

How can Erie County better address state-mandated Medicaid payments to lessen the burden on county taxpayers?

Education JD; SUNY at Buffalo Law School MBA; SUNY at Buffalo School of Managment BA in Psychology; Canisius College St. Francis High School
Experience and Qualifications Attorney in private practice Works for and understands small business Prevented tax increase Reduced taxes Reduced spending
Key Endorsements Republican Party Conservative Party Independence Party
Everyone agrees that the opioid problem doesn't have one quick fix. It is also an ongoing problem, where we'll likely be fighting this battle for years (if not decades) to come. I am proud of my effort to fund a collaboration with private sector organizations who have expertise in the issue to see how best they can fight the epidemic with $500,000 of Erie County money. The proposal was supported by the administration and my colleagues. Hopefully this collaboration will yield results.
Since being elected, I have placed an emphasis on infrastructure repairs & maintenance. In fact, I voted for the largest ever single investment of county money into infrastructure --$5 Million from fund balance. I continue to advocate for all county roads in my district, from East & West in West Seneca to Whitney Road in Holland. I am proud of the work done so far: Fisher, Langner, Seneca Creek, Seneca, Ridge, Maple, Center, 240, Bullis, etc. There are several more waiting, including Girdle.
I have supported measures for increased lead testing throughout Erie County, as well as sought better transparency, management, and "customer service" from the Erie County Water Authority. Since the ECWA is a New York State Authority, the oversight of that entity rests with the NYS Comptroller's office. There is much confusion because of "Erie County" in the name, but once commissioners are appointed through a political process laid out in the NYS Charter, they become autonomous.
There isn't just one issue that is the most important. Government as a whole needs to be better. We need increased transparency, better prioritization of our tax dollars by the administration, a true commitment to reining in spending, reducing burdensome taxes and regulations, investment in our infrastructure, and assistance with job creation, development, and retention. We also need a government that isn't so partisan and extreme. Collaboration goes along way...and I wish there was more.
Without a wholesale change in the way NYS handles Medicaid, our hands are virtually tied. NY is the only state in the USA to pass these costs down to counties...and it is killing us. If we were able to eliminate that burden, it would save Erie County taxpayers over $200 million each year. That is a huge percentage of our county budget, but for all of NYS, the Medicaid mandate is less than 2% of the NYS budget. Albany leaders need to figure out a way to help. Instead, they ignore our pleas.
Education Ed.M. Literacy Specialist, 2012 State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY; M.S. Elementary Education, 1997 Bank Street College of Education, New York, NY; B.S. Human Development and Family Studies, 1994 Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; New York State Permanent Teacher Certificate, Pre-K—6; New York State Professional Literacy Certificates, Birth-Grade 6 and Grades 5-12
Experience and Qualifications Over 16 years teaching experience; Member of Leadership Team in a NYS School Improvement Grant (SIG) Buffalo Public School; Former Board Member, Shakespeare in Delaware Park; Former Officer in a local chapter of the California Teachers Association; Grassroots leader, active in ensuring protections for middle class and working people
Key Endorsements WNY Area Labor Federation; Buffalo Building Trades Council; Women’s Tap Fund; Schoolhouse Democrats
Campaign Web Site
The opioid epidemic is a complex and multi-faceted public health crisis that requires an array of strategies to manage. In the short-term, local government should support increased access to medication-assisted treatment like methadone and suboxone. This is the only proven treatment for opioid addiction. New York State is well ahead of the curve in implementing changes to insurance law and prescribing practices to prevent individuals from becoming addicted to opioids in the first place.
I support the scoring system currently used by the County which grades projects based not just on the severity of the wear and damage to the road or bridge, but also the amount of traffic the road or bridge receives. This seems like the fairest and most logical system to triage repairs for the County’s enormous road network. Tenth district projects that currently need to be completed based on these criteria include the Lydecker Road Bridge, East and West Road, and Mineral Springs Road.
I would encourage the County Water Authority to go beyond the minimum testing requirements that they currently meet. Recent reporting has drawn into question whether meeting minimum standards is sufficient to protect public health. I also believe we need to have a larger discussion around how we deliver water to our homes. It has been 67 years since our community decided that the ECWA was the best way to deliver water and that is a long time for one system to be in place without reassessment.
I believe the most important issue facing the County is the skills gap between Erie County workers and new jobs coming online. Over the next five years, 5,200 new jobs will be added to the regional economy annually. At the same time 132,000 people are underemployed while 42% of the region’s working age population is out of the labor force entirely. Our community must come together to shrink the skills gap and ensure that the economic renaissance is felt by everyone.
Outside of major changes in state law, there is little Erie County can do to limit the impact of Medicaid on the budget. Since the cap was imposed in 2005, Erie County has essentially paid a fixed amount for its share of Medicaid payments. However, although a chunk of the County budget is mandated, it is incumbent upon leaders of the County to manage the roughly $100 million non-mandated funds to ensure they are being used in a productive and efficient way for the residents of Erie County. logo


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