SOMERSET— A Republican primary election will take place in Somerset for the supervisor’s post.
Running for the office is Supervisor Dan Engert on the Republican line. He is endorsed by the town Republican committee and has the support of the Conservative and Independence parties.
Opposing Engert is first-time candidate Paul Oliveira for the GOP nod.
Oliveira is a 15-year resident of Somerset. He has worked as a crew member for a major airline flying to military bases all over the world for 25 years.
Oliveira said he chose to run for supervisor because he believes the residents of Somerset deserves a leader and advocate that they can trust for all residents and not just a select few.
Due to the proposed wind turbine project that is dividing the town, Oliveira said he has lost faith and trust in the current board. Over the past six months, he asked the board what their position on the matter was, but it wasn’t until after the results of the survey that they spoke out against the project, causing Oliveira to feel slighted by his town representatives.
“We have major issues that our community needs to deal with in the next few years and I think that given the privilege and honor, I will be able to resolve these key issues side-by-side with the Town Board, mayor of Barker and both communities,” Oliveira said.
The key issues that Oliveira hopes to address are the complete elimination of wind turbines in the Somerset area, revitalization of a Main Street that residents can be proud of and the creation of jobs by encouraging business and agricultural business development. Oliveira wants the town to establish a “municipal power agency.”
“We have the opportunity to have our own municipal power agency (that will allow us) to be able to make our own decisions in the town,” Oliveira said. “We’ve had the opportunity before but it was never (adopted).”
As Somerset’s supervisor for four years, Engert says he’s been able to accomplish many things over his two terms, including the drawing up of budgets that have cut the tax rate by 30 percent and reduced spending by more than $1 million. Somerset has implemented ongoing shared service and efficiency programs, which will continue to save taxpayers more than $233,000 annually.
Engert has always felt a desire to serve his community, and has done so not only through serving as the town’s elected official, but also as deputy chief of the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office.
Engert says he hopes to “continue my efforts to provide good effective service to the community in which they have grown to expect at low costs to them… I feel that with the experience and good working relationships with the Town Board and elected officials, I can continue to bring services to the community.”
Engert said he hopes to continue his role spearheading the Niagara County Municipal Healthcare Consortium, which is a group of municipalities sharing health care costs to their employees. Participation in the group could bring potential tax levy reductions for all of the municipalities involved.
Engert also hopes to continue to work closely with the Niagara County Center for Economic Development at the site where a Verizon building was once proposed, adjacent to the Somerset power plant. He also is excited about working with a developer on a potential solar energy project, demonstrating Somerset’s commitment to be open for renewable energy but not intrusive wind turbines.
“I intend to carry their voice throughout this process and if re-elected, I will work tirelessly to defend the interests of Somerset and to oppose the installation of the massive industrial wind turbines being proposed in our town,” Engert said.
The primary election will take place Sept. 10 and polls will be open from noon to 9 p.m. in Somerset.
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