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Himelein talks about his county concerns

January 9, 2014
By Katie Atkins - , Westfield Republican / Mayville Sentinel News

Dave Himelein is no stranger to leadership positions, especially within the Chautauqua County Legis-lature.

Last week, he was named the majority leader for 2014.

He was the former assistant majority leader, as well as chairman of the Public Facilities Committee and past vice chairman of the Public Safety Committee. He also formerly served on the Audit and Control Committee.

Article Photos

David Himelein District 18
District 18 includes towns of Mina, Sherman and Chautauqua
Former Employment: Welch Foods, 41 years
Elected offices held: Chautauqua County Legislature, 2010-2013
Education: Gannon University; Clymer High School
Civic involvement: New York State Association of Fire Chiefs; Chautauqua County Fire Chiefs Association, former president; Findley Lake Fire Department, former chief; Mina-Findley Lake Historical Society, board member; Mina Town Board, 7 years
Fun Fact: Enjoys dinner with friends and family

Himelein said the new legislature has much to accomplish.

"We have to decide what to do about sewering," Himelein said.

Around Chautauqua Lake, properties not connected to the current sewer system have aging septic tanks. Sewering the entire lake would help prevent phosphorus from entering the water.

Additionally, he said Findley Lake's dam needs to be repaired. In 2013, a large sinkhole was found in the vicinity of the dam, but the problem has yet to be solved.

"There are priorities in each of the legislators' districts," Himelein said. "We've got several issues in the county."

Besides issues with both lakes, the Chautauqua County Home and the SAFE Act are on the list of Himelein's concerns.

Of the County Home, he said he will continue to vote in favor of its privatization.

"I think that if we do get another offer from a viable, prospective buyer that a resolution to sell it will be passed," Himelein said, adding that he believes jobs will be saved if it is sold.

In other matters, he supports the repeal of the SAFE Act, which was signed into law in 2013 by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The act imposed a variety of restrictions on gun owners, including a reduction of magazine capacity and registration of newly defined assault weapons.

"I don't know, at the local level, if there is anything more we can do to get it repealed or modified," he said. "If there is, I'm all for that. I think it's a big intrusion on people's freedoms."

Regardless of these issues, Himelein pointed out that there are many positive things taking place in Chautauqua County.

"Our farmers, our agribusiness, is doing very well here in the county, and our tourism is doing very well," he said. "Tourism is very good. If there's a way we can attract more tourists, I'm all for it."

Himelein joined 12 other Republican legislators on Jan. 1 to form a new, downsized group of 19 with a Republican supermajority.

Of the supermajority, Himelein said it's a great opportunity, but also a great responsibility.

"All eyes are going to be on us," he said. "They'll scrutinize us, but we're going to try and do what's right for the citizens of the county."

He said Republican legislators will continue to work with those on the Democratic side of the aisle.

"We can very much work together to accomplish many things in this county," he concluded.



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