Mayville (4/16/20). In a joint press release today, the Democratic candidates on the November ballot took issue today with a “reopen New York” plan being advanced by Republicans Assemblyman Andy Goodell and Senator George Borrello, which is also being supported by yet-to-be-elected County Executive Paul M. Wendell, Jr.
“First and foremost,” said Democratic County Executive candidate Richard Morrisroe of Dunkirk, “any plan absolutely must include the proper safeguards, metrics and testing. Our county’s first job is to ensure that our citizens are safe. We need widespread testing to make sure we know the level of infection in our county. While I appreciate the State Senator Borrello and Assemblyman Goodell’s initiative and ideas, they remain too incomplete to push for immediate action. As a small businessman whose law practice has suffered as a result of the PAUSE in response to the Novel Coronavirus pandemic, I understand the desire to get the economy going again. I truly do. However, the health and safety of Chautauqua County’s citizens must come first. Their proposal falls short on two counts:
1) We do not yet have an accurate measure of how widespread the infection is in our county. As a less populated, more rural county than Erie County, we will likely have far less cases. But we have no way of knowing if the numbers espoused are accurate. We don’t have enough tests to know for sure. Our County Executive needs to be begging for the not yet widely available test kits so that we can intelligently move forward to reopen our state under the leadership of Albany and Washington, DC.
2) Our economy is integrated regionally, nationally and globally. Neither Chautauqua County nor the greater Southern Tier region functions in a vacuum. Our economies are tied to Erie and Warren Counties in Pennsylvania, Buffalo and Rochester to the north and east, and to other supply chains all over the world. While I appreciate the graduated approach and agree that the level of infection will vary by county and municipality, it will be extremely difficult to open one area and be fully functional while most are still shut down. Last but not least, in terms of income and sales tax revenue generation statewide, all of upstate, including Western New York and the Southern Tier, depend on the greater New York City area. To say we can carry on without it being operational is to ignore that reality.”
“The checkerboard approach advocated by my opponent for NY Assembly is problematic,” said Assembly candidate Christine Cardinale-D, Jamestown. “He proposes opening up western New York, but not Erie County or Monroe County with our big city Buffalo and Rochester hubs. The plan also ignores the fact that we are a border state with Erie and Warren County, Pa. It’s pretty easy to understand why this plan does not make any sense. Just look at a map. “
Cardinale added, “Public safety must be our main concern. Protecting the lives of Chautauqua County’s residents must be our number one goal. When facing a threat of this magnitude, we need to be cautious instead of having future regrets that we were not cautious enough. Valuing the economy over the people is not an approach I will ever agree with. I’ve seen the struggle — I know people are suffering financially. I know businesses are failing. I’m very concerned with the economic impact of this virus. However, the people have to come first. I will fight night and day to find ways to bounce back from this tragedy. Currently, I simply cannot justify interrupting our recovery half-way through. We truly don’t know what impact that will have. Once we have sufficient testing, appropriate data, and proper metrics — then we can talk about opening for business.”
“We need to sit down and find a plan that supports what President Trump and Governor Cuomo are talking about for the reopening of our state and national economy,” said 57th State Senate candidate Frank Puglisi-D, Lynden. “Our current leaders taking the cowboy approach is not only wrong, it’s extremely dangerous.”