By Vicki Westling
It is not uncommon for the grandson of a mayor to follow in the family footsteps, but what is uncommon is to find a politician with true blue collar roots, and a desire to make a positive difference in the lives of others.
That’s George Borrello. And it is that desire that has motivated him throughout his career and to develop his ten-point initiative known as the “Elevating Chautauqua County Plan.” These are not just words, nor a fancy smancy campaign slogan, it is what George believes in.
Unlike so many of our politicians, George Borrello knows firsthand what it means to work hard and to believe in doing the right thing. When speaking with him, George said, “My family’s background is blue-collar, small business and agricultural. My grandparents, on both sides of my family, were a big influence on me. Especially early in my life. My mother’s father, John Notaro, worked full-time in the steel plant while also maintaining a farm on Chestnut Street in Fredonia that included over 40 acres of grapes.
“My father’s father, who I am named after, started his own plumbing business, Silver Creek Plumbing. He was also active in local politics. They both taught me that it takes hard work and dedication to achieve things in life.”
Developing the north end of Chautauqua County is in the Borrello blood. George’s grandfather was also mayor of Silver Creek back in the 1980s and had a vision for the lakefront in Silver Creek. He applied for grants and eventually brought in his own equipment at no charge to offset the grant shortfall.
He passed this sense of personal dedication and pride on to George’s father and to George. “That is who I am.” he said. “I believe that when we need to get something accomplished, something that is for the good of the people and for the area, then we do whatever is necessary. I’m not afraid of hard work, and I am certainly not afraid of working with anyone who wants to help; bipartisanship has never been a problem for me.”
That sentiment was evidenced when George announced his candidacy for the position of county executive. He said, “I want to engage the community at the onset of my campaign so we can begin a discussion together to determine the best practices in moving Chautauqua County forward.”
Family values and the belief in hard work molded George into the man of integrity that he is today. But he also credits many teachers and others from his youth as mentors and inspirations. “Fredonia was a wonderful place to grow up. I had many great teachers who cared and instilled in me the need for purpose and self-motivation.”
There was something more that drove George Borrello – the need to make a difference for the people of Chautauqua County; his political inspiration came from President Ronald Reagan. “I was inspired by Ronald Reagan. Not just his strength as a leader and his values but also his ability to communicate directly with the American people. He reminded us that the American Dream is alive and well,” Borrello continued. “As a result of that inspiration, I got involved with local Republican races. I worked on Jack Glenzer’s county executive campaign. Jack was another early mentor and friend.”
But what about his plan for carrying on the work that current County Executive Vince Horrigan has begun? George has a plan!
The Borrello plan includes community development, tax relief, regionalization, preservation of our natural resources, and tourism. He said, “The Elevating Chautauqua County Plan” will make Chautauqua County the ideal location to live, work, visit, and own a business.”
For brevity sake, let me synopsize the plan and the top 10 initiatives:
1. Fully capitalize on existing community development opportunities and continue to implement recommendations proposed in the County’s Comprehensive Plan.
2. Advance a proactive economic development strategy to create more well-paying jobs through business expansions, business recruitment, and business startups.
3. Hold the line on taxes and continue to pursue efforts to reduce taxes that are within the county’s control, while maintaining a high level of services.
4. Advance efforts to pursue regionalization/consolidation solutions amongst municipalities and school districts throughout the county to lower costs and create an environment conducive to community and business growth.
5. Manage fiscal issues facing at-risk communities, in particular those pertaining to the county’s two cities, Dunkirk and Jamestown, as well as other communities that are battling serious budget deficits and reductions in services.
6. Advance programs to address drug addiction, as well as other critical health and social issues plaguing our communities.
7. Advance efforts to improve the health of our lakes and other natural systems and continue to develop opportunities for outdoor recreation and active living in order to improve the quality of life for those wishing to live, work, and recreate in Chautauqua County.
8. Advance efforts to address residential poverty and blight throughout the county
9. Maintain and improve an environment of cooperation within the legislature, within and amongst municipalities, within and amongst school systems, within and amongst community groups, and within and amongst institutions.
10. Continue to actively promote the region to the outside world in order to reverse population decline as a tourism destination; an optimal place for second and retirement homes; a great place for business to locate, expand and startup; a terrific place for young people to settle; and a great place to raise a family.
An aggressive plan, yes, but if anyone can do it, George can because he believes in this area. George said, “Growing up in Chautauqua County was a blessing. My mother was a hairdresser and ran her own small business. We were not wealthy. But we knew about respecting one another and being good community citizens. We knew hard work would pay off in the end, and there was no substitute for doing the right thing.
Do you know George? I do, and his integrity and dedication to the people of Chautauqua County is unmatched. The political season has begun; get to know George, I think you’ll like him.
Have a great day.