Attorney Kevin Gaughan has agreed to run for Erie County Comptroller on the Democratic Party line
The party, after a recommendation from Erie County Chairman Jeremy Zellner, will swap Gaughan on to the ballot after Lynn Szalkowski withdrew from the race, even though petitions bearing her name have been circulated.
“Kevin Gaughan is a passionate advocate for government reform” said Zellner in a prepared statement “Although he has earned his living exclusively in the private sector, he has given energy to efforts to ensure that citizens play an active role in their government. Kevin is entirely his own man and will be beholden only to the people of Erie County. We are proud to have him as our nominee.”
Gaughan was an unsuccessful candidate for the Assembly last year, and has previously run for Mayor of Buffalo but he is best known for promoting smaller government, having launched campaigns for downsizing referendums in various suburbs.
Even before he officially decided to run for the office, Gaughan suggested that his possible campaign would focus on some of the same downsizing issues that he has spoke of often.
"The office holds this potential for not just pointing out problems but devising and offering innovative solutions to this chronic, nation-leading high concentration of government and taxes we have here in Erie County, Gaughan said, in an appearance Sunday on WBEN's Hardline program
from Hardline, this past Sunday
HEAR GAUGHAN discuss possibly entering the race
Prior to that he regularly advocated regionalism and sharing of government resources in a series of lectures and writing across the country. He is a 1976 graduate of Harvard University, with a Georgetown Law degree.Gaughan will run against Incumbent Republican Stefan Mychajliw, a former television reporter and public relations executive, in November.
Here's a copy of the letter he released to supporters:
After considerable thought, I've decided to accept the request of my Democrat Party to become a candidate for the office of Erie County Comptroller. I will appear before the party executive committee this evening at 5:30 pm to request their endorsement.
I believe that no citizen should run for office unless they have an innovative proposal or specific purpose. Based on lessons I've learned working to reduce government size and cost, I have several. Each one of them is in service of a simple idea: working Western New Yorkers deserve the most fair and effective local government possible. And this new civil right - the right to a government that lifts rather than burdens us - I believe is within our grasp.
For over a decade, I've been engaged in government reform. Employing my knowledge and experience gained as a finance attorney, I've studied the budgets and balance sheets of each of Erie County's 45 governments. I know how they work, and I'm full of ideas of how to transform the comptroller's office into a strong advocate for taxpayers.
In the course of my private citizen efforts, I've stood up to county, town, village, and city politicians and told them they must change. And with the assistance of thousands of volunteers, I've caused more public votes than anyone in the history of New York State, letting people decide directly the size and cost of their local government. As a result, voters have adopted downsizing measures in 3 county, 6 town, and 1 village governments, eliminating 26 elected positions and saving local taxpayers $5.2 million per year.
I intend to drain the "show horse" aspect out of the comptroller's office, and inject a bit of "workhorse" into it. And in the process, with a little luck and a lot of work, I hope as well to return a sense of humility to the idea of government service. Every degree of mind and spirit that I possess
will be devoted to these tasks.
I ask for your help, your thoughts, and your prayers. In so doing, I will relinquish what Benjamin Franklin called America's highest office, that of citizen, and ask voters to permit me to become their servant, secure in the knowledge that I will always know that my position is less than theirs.
With gratitude and esteem,