Curt Crandall acknowledges that last few months have gone by quickly as he prepares for a June 25 primary for the Republican nomination to fill the vacancy in New York’s 57th Senate District left by former State Sen. Catharine Young when she resigned in March.

“The timeframe is short, and it’s an unusual time of year for the primary,” Crandall, Chairman of the Allegany County Board of Legislators for the last 14 years, said. “So we’re going to have a challenge in getting people to know and understand that June 25 is the primary, and it’s an important primary for the 57th Senate district.”

In the wake of Young’s resignation, three of the four Republican committee chairmen – representing Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Livingston counties – threw support behind Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello in a non-binding endorsement in the event Gov. Andrew Cuomo called a special election to fill the vacancy. Crandall had already decided to run prior to that point and began circulating petitions once it became clear a special election would not be called.

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“My decision was made prior to any kind of endorsement or call from the other folks,” Crandall said. “The only ones that made that endorsement were three people.”

Crandall said that he has since met with committee members from throughout the district.

“I found it interesting that since that time, I have been invited to meet with the complete committees of Livingston and Cattaraugus counties, and it was an opportunity to meet with those that should have been in on any endorsement but weren’t," he said. "I felt really glad to be with them and very encouraged talking with them.”

A native of Belfast, Crandall is a member of a family that owns Crandall’s Memorials, a cemetery memorial business with locations in Wellsville, Allegany, Olean and Frewsburg. Since his business interests span throughout the district, Crandall feels as though this familiarity gives him an advantage over Borrello and even over potential Democratic opponent, Austin Morgan, who emerged from the petition process without a challenger.

“I will be more central to the district and not at the far west end or east end,” he said. “A lot of my time is spent in the Olean and Allegany areas. Having done business in more of the eastern two-thirds of the district for so many years, I know a whole lot of people, and those people are familiar with my name and background.”

Crandall said he also believes that having served Allegany County for the past 19 years in the legislature makes him more qualified than his Republican opponent.

“Clearly, my experience as county chairman and the accomplishments made there for state and county governments, I feel put me head and shoulders above the competitor,” he said.

And though the Senate seat previously occupied by Young has remained vacant since March, Crandall believes it should be for the people to chose her successor rather than a special election or appointment.

“Had the four men (the four county chairmen) in the room been called for that, it was clear that the weighted position and support of the competitor, he would have been the one hand-picked,” he said. “I felt it should go to the voters. By having a primary, this is going to the voters to let them decide.”

If elected, Crandall said he plans to be consistent, fighting for legislation he believes will make the state more sustainable moving forward.

“This district is affected by what happens all across New York – a call for jobs, economic development which this district greatly needs,” he said. “But, the real issues that we face are the overburdensome regulations in New York State to do business, the higher taxes to live here or do business here, and, as you look at the numbers across New York State, and all across this district, people are leaving.”

He added, “You take a look at where they're leaving to, and you can blame it on the weather, as the governor does, but a lot of folks want to be here. They’ve grown up here, they’ve raised their family here, and they want to stay here. We need to have jobs and opportunity to keep them in place, and you’re not going to do that until you get to the root of why businesses and people are leaving.”

And, given the experience he has accumulated since first running for public office in 1984, Crandall believes he has the know-how and familiarity to properly represent the district in the upper chamber.

“If you take a map of the district and put a 40-mile radius circle around each of those towns I have business in, it pretty much covers the 57th Senate District,” Crandall said. "If you give me a place to go in the district, I won’t need a GPS to find where I’m going.”

He added, “I’ve served a long time and when I step up to the Senate level, if you look at my record on the county level, I plan on taking that with me to Albany along with my commitment. Neither of my opponents have anywhere near that experience and neither one of my opponents have had that commitment that I have had to local government.”

Click here to read our story about George Borrello, who is opposing  Curt Crandall in the June 25 primary.

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