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Republican Committee faces challengers from Democratic Committee

CONCORD—For the first time in more than a decade, the elections for positions in the Town of Concord will see both Republican and Democratic candidates. The Town Supervisor position is open, along with two councilman seats, the town clerk, town justice, assessor and the Highway Superintendent.

Both the Republican and Democratic committees have endorsed candidates for the Nov. 7 election. This is the first year the Concord Democratic Committee has endorsed its own candidates since roughly 12 years ago.  

Earlier this year, the Republican Committee announced their endorsements for Clyde Drake, supervisor; Jim Krezmien and Philip Drozd, councilmen; Darlene Schweikert, town clerk; Dennis Dains, highway superintendent; Dawn Martin, assessor and Leslie Gibbin for town justice. Schweikert, Dains and Martin are all running unopposed.

Incumbent Gibbin is facing Edward Young in the race for Concord Town Justice.

“I think the platform is everything that has been done in the past 10-12 years,” said Concord Republican Chairman Jerry Grasso. “The last 12 years … we’ve been fortunate.”
Drake and Krezmien both currently hold seats on the Concord Town Board. Krezmien serves as the deputy supervisor, under Concord Supervisor Gary Eppolito, who is retiring after three terms.

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“We have stayed under the tax cap, provided good services and good roads,” Grasso said. “When needs arose, [the town board] stepped forward and got it done.”

Grasso highlighted the senior center as one of the successes, noting that it was a need for Concord’s older population. He added the town board, which Drake and Krezmien sit on, has also looked into renewable energy, when asked by residents.

“When asked about windmills and solar panels … they went out and got more information,” Grasso said. “It’s a good government for the Town of Concord.”

In addition to having experience in the positions – Dains, Schweikert, Gibbin and Martin are all running for reelection – Grasso noted most of the candidates are natives of the town and have served in other capacities. Dains served as fire chief of the Springville Volunteer Fire Company for 19 years, having stepped down this year; Drake previously served as president of the Springville-Griffith Institute Board of Education and Drozd is a current member of the Fire Company.

“Most of them were born and raised here,” Grasso said. “They’ve served for different groups … at different functions for the town.”

Town Justice challenger Young has lived in the town since 2003 and previously served on the SYI board. He brings a 29-year New York State Trooper career to the table.

On the Democratic side, William Krebs, Jon Hamann and Matthew Mayer are running as the Elect New Concord candidates. Bringing a mix of experience and newcomers, the three were endorsed by the Democratic Committee and are running on four major points. Improve services, partner to promote town interests, model good government and plan for the future.

Krebs, who has served as Village of Springville mayor since 2006, is running for Concord Town Supervisor, while newcomers Hamann and Mayer are looking to fill the open councilmen seats.

“Our platform signals a deep commitment to working with other local governments and groups and listening to residents,” Krebs said in a press release. “It’s an approach that has served the Village of Springville well, and it’s time that the Town of Concord joins in the growth and efficiencies that Springville has experienced.”

Along with improving services, the Democrats would like to improve quality of life for residents and businesses, advocate for road and infrastructure improvements, rural broadband, substance abuse prevention and treatment and clean energy initiatives. Responsible spending, holding open meetings with transparency, the inclusion of stakeholders in decision making and attracting investment to the region are also top priorities.

In addition to Krebs’ experience in village government, he sits on the Board of Directors for the Springville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Pop Warner Steering Committee. Hamann is a small business owner and resident of Mortons Corners, Mayer is a new resident to the area, and the political scene.

“We re-energized the Democratic party in the Town of Concord … residents have welcomed the resurgence of the party,” Krebs said. “We’re happy to give the residents … a choice at the polls.”

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While the Town of Concord is a Republican-heavy area, Krebs said they are not nervous by the party divide.

“Local elections are about who are the best people for the job,” Krebs said. “We’re working hard to reach out to all residents.”

Grasso said his party welcomes the competition.

“It’s nice to have competition … competition is always good,” he said. “You don’t get stale that way.”

The Concord Democratic Committee also endorsed Schweikert for Town Clerk and Steve Cichon for Erie County Clerk. The Concord Republican Committee endorsed Michael Kearns for Erie County Clerk, Stefan Mychajliw for Comptroller and Timothy Howard for Erie County Sheriff.

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