A political newcomer will square off with a freshman Erie County lawmaker in the Legislature’s 10th District race Nov. 5.
Democrat Lauren Gray of West Seneca is a recent University at Buffalo Law School graduate who studied tax and contract law.
“I know that that puts everyone else to sleep, but I’m very detail-oriented. I could really make a difference there,” said Gray, on the possibility of making it to the Legislature.
It’s a dream already realized by her opponent, incumbent Joseph C. Lorigo, a Conservative Party candidate who first defeated then-incumbent Democrat Christina W. Bove for the 10th District Legislature seat in 2011.
While Lorigo currently caucuses with the minority Republicans, competitive races in several of the Legislature’s other districts could change his fortunes if he is re-elected.
Lorigo, 31, is an attorney who handles civil litigation and criminal matters at his father’s law firm when the Legislature is not in session.
Among the accomplishments from his first term in office of which he is proudest, Lorigo said, is his successful advocacy for bringing the E-911 advanced emergency response system to police departments and emergency responders in some of the more remote areas of his suburban/rural district.
“A few towns in my district – East Aurora being the largest – were the last in a group of three different phases to get that advancement in their system,” Lorigo said.
“I believe that everybody in Erie County, regardless of where they live, should have the same access to public safety and emergency response systems,” he added.
Gray, 26, would like to turn her attention to beefing up the county’s Department of Social Services and getting more funding for the maintenance and repair of the county’s infrastructure.
“I really think the area needs more road and bridge maintenance,” she said.
Lorigo, too, is an advocate for more funding to keep up with the repair and maintenance of crumbling roads and bridges in his district, but he also seeks to hold the line on county taxes. He said one of his toughest votes in the Legislature was supporting the $40 million lease agreement between the county and Bills.
“I struggled with that vote more than I think anybody would ever care to admit,” Lorigo said.
In the end, he decided it was to the economic benefit of the region to help fight to keep the Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
“What I’d like to see is better scheduling at the Legislature. Next year, we have an opportunity to take the majority in the Legislature. And if that’s the case ... I think you’ll see scheduling will be a little different,” Lorigo said.
Gray is also running on the Working Families Party line, while Lorigo will also appear on the Republican Party line in the Nov. 5 election.