Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Local News

October 27, 2013

To be, or not to be, one of Majority?

(Continued)

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Walker said he’d support moves to balance the county budget, but would not support a tax increase. Job cuts are on the table for him, if the positions aren’t needed, he said. “Patronage” jobs — for individuals and firms that are affiliated with the Majority Caucus, including attorneys on retainer with the county billing $3.9 million a year for their services — would be among the first cuts, he said.

Walker would like to see the county legislature press the state for welfare reform. The existing system discourages work, hurting the county and its people, he said.

“If one person gets $400 a month on welfare, for him, his wife and his son, then gets a job that is still low-paying but disqualifies him from food stamps, he’s essentially handcuffed to the system,” he said. “Why not try to work someone off the system instead of one way or the other? I’d like to see a dollar-for-dollar adjustment” of benefits as earned income rises.

In addition, Walker, who is an electrician with IBEW Local 237 and also works on a family-owned dairy farm, would like to see the county get behind reform of industrial development agencies.

While area IDAs are embracing local hiring policies for companies receiving financial incentives to build and operate here, the policies may exempt “specialty” work. They should not, Walker said.

 “You can’t give loopholes to large corporations. It allows companies to get away with hiring a $9 employee from outside the area versus a $15 employee locally,” he said.

Generally, Walker doesn’t think current legislators have the will to stand up for their constituents.

“The legislature is like a mini version of the federal government. They’re all puppets, and that’s what you get with a 100 percent majority. I want to make a difference,” he said.

If he’s the only challenger who gets elected, he said, he will make sure that Roy-Hart residents know who he is. “And they will know that I am fighting for them, instead of being a wallflower.”

Walker seized the Conservative ballot line from Hill, who was that party’s endorsed candidate, in the September primary. He also has the Democratic and Working Families ballot lines in the general election.

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