George Borrello admitted the last few months have been a bit of a whirlwind.
With Catharine Young’s sudden resignation from the New York State Senate in March, Borrello, who has served as Chautauqua County Executive since 2018, said he had to begin mobilizing as soon as possible in order to fill the vacancy created in the 57th Senate district.
But, according to Borrello, who officially kicked off his campaign during a rally at Webb’s Captain’s Table in Mayville on May 2, the response to his candidacy has been ‘inspiring.’
“We have had a tremendous response from everyone out there, not just from Chautauqua County but from throughout the 57th district,” he said. “There’s a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and excitement since the announcement of my campaign and I’m just very pleased.”
Borrello, a resident of Sunset Bay in the Town of Hanover, first entered local politics in 2010, winning his election to the Chautauqua County Legislature. A graduate of Purdue University, Borrello founded Top-Shelf Marketing in his early 20s, growing the business into a top supplier for the hospitality industry. After merging with Progressive Specialty Glass Company, he served as the company’s vice president of marketing for over 20 years before retiring in 2017.
Since his election as county executive, Borrello has focused on collaboration between towns and organizations throughout the county, formulating the Chautauqua Lake Weed Management Consensus Strategy to oversee the environmental treatment of Chautauqua Lake and beginning efforts to create the Grow Chautauqua Hops and Grains Co-Op. During his first 100 days as the county’s leader, Borrello visited 107 businesses and groups as part of a promise he made during his campaign.
Now, his attention turns to succeeding Young and representing a region that went unrepresented in the Senate during the budget process and will continue to go unrepresented until the end of the calendar year.
“At the end of the day, I think you’re talking about a large area geographically and about 300,000 people who are going to go unrepresented,” Borrello said, noting his disappointment that Governor Andrew Cuomo did not fill the vacancy with a special election.
“That’s a large number of people that need a voice,” he said.
He added, “However, I will say this. I do have a tremendous amount of confidence in the two assemblymen who I both consider friends -- (148th district assemblyman) Joe Giglio and (150th district assemblyman) Andy Goodell -- and their ability to represent us in the New York State Assembly. But, it is a gap to not have someone in the Senate at this time.”
In order to fill that gap, Borrello will need to get through a primary against Allegany County Legislature Chairman Curt Crandall, who submitted the necessary amount of petition signatures to appear on the June 25 ballot. Democrat Austin Morgan went unchallenged during the petition process and will face the winner of the Republican primary in the November election.
Despite the challenge from within his party, Borrello noted that he has remained focused on trying to introduce himself to district residents who may not be familiar with him.
“Coming from my background in business and sales, nothing beats that face-to-face interaction and my plan is to continue to do that so that I can number one, tell people a little bit about myself and what my qualifications are, but also just to listen and gather what their concerns are,” Borrello said. “I feel like I’ve already had a tremendously positive response at the various events where I’ve been able to meet people and I’m just going to continue to do that and get the word out there about who I am and what I stand for and why I believe I’m the right choice.”
When asked about what his “elevator pitch” would be to a constituent, his answer was simple.
“I have a track record for getting things accomplished and doing so by being able to work with people no matter what their political affiliation might be, no matter what walk of life they come from to achieve real goals which we have done here in Chautauqua County. I, myself, am a conservative and I believe that part of doing this also includes compromising and working together to achieve goals, but also without ever compromising our values that we hold dear.”
And while running to succeed Young while already serving as county executive has been a challenge, Borrello said the momentum from his work in the county has kept him excited about what is to come.
“It’s been energizing me and I’ve been feeding off each one of those things to kind of bring that total energy to my job as county executive while running for the 57th senate district,” he said. “It has been challenging, but inspirational to do it.”
Click here to read our story about Curt Crandall, who is opposing George Borrello in the June 25 primary.
Sign Up for E-News to get top stories delivered daily to your inbox.