Republican Gates Town Supervisor Mark Assini almost pulled off a stunning upset In last year's Congressional elections. He finished less than 900 votes behind Representative Louise Slaughter — a Democratic powerhouse.
Assini has been upfront about his desire to take on Slaughter again in the future, but this year he is up for re-election as Gates supervisor. And Democrat Brenda James, Assini's opponent, made clear today that she'd make Assini's ambitions an election issue. James, a small business owner, announced her candidacy earlier today at Monroe County Democratic Committee headquarters.
"My commitment is to Gates," she said.
Democrats announced a full slate of Gates candidates. Bill Kiley, who is manager of Kodak Alaris's Information Management division, and Mark McIntee, a construction manager who served on the Gates Town Board from 2007 to 2011, are running for Town Board seats. And Erik Johnson, an economics and criminal justice teacher in the Gates Chili school district, is running for a County Legislature seat.
Johnson will run against Republican Frank Allkofer, who currently serves on the Gates Town Board. The two candidates are vying for the Lej seat held by Republican Majority Leader Steve Tucciarello, who can't run again due to term limits.
James said that one of her key issues will be crime. Gates has more violent crime than other suburban Monroe County communities, she said, and property crimes are also a problem. Often, the offenses are committed by people who do not live in the town, she said. She said that she wants to talk with public safety officials and the Gates community to find out why people are coming to the town to commit crimes, and that she also wants to advance Neighborhood Watch efforts.
Assini says that he's skeptical of the crime numbers that James cites, and says that the town has a top-notch police force with up-to-date equipment, including body cameras. The town also has 34 Neighborhood Watch groups, which the police department regularly communicates with through its Facebook page, he says.
James also said that she wants to pursue a Gates community organization similar to the Fairport Partnership. The partnership brings together elected officials and volunteers in the Fairport community who spearhead various quality of life and business-related projects, including special events, streetscape improvements, and business recruitment.