Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Opinion

November 2, 2012

Return Hochul to D.C.

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Some of the nastiest political attack ads that have aired on television stations across the U.S. have been run in the Buffalo market where there’s a real dogfight taking place between Kathy Hochul and Chris Collins in their race for congress.

We’ll address that later.

Hochul, the Democratic incumbent, despite running in a Republican-leaning district, won the seat in a special election last year after Chris Lee’s sudden departure.

Incredibly, she’s still neck-to-neck with Collins in a newly redrawn district that includes even more Republicans. There’s a reason for that.

Hochul has the common touch that endears Bill Clinton — and several other Democrat politicians — to so many. While Collins has made plenty of campaign stops at businesses small and large, Hochul was visiting coffee shops. (Collins is now, finally, making some similar campaign stops.)

Kathy Hochul has performed fairly well in her short time in Washington. She has shown an independent streak but has, at other times, toed the party line. In the end, she appears to be making decisions based on what’s best for her constituents.

Collins, the former Erie County Executive, had a rocky four years in office, highlighted by bitter feuding with county Democrats and then-comptroller Mark Poloncarz. He made some unpopular — yet necessary — decisions, but how many of them were driven by that county’s control board? Perhaps his biggest misstep was when he tried to cut funding to the arts and other attractions, including the Buffalo Zoo and the county library system. It’s what voters remembered last November and it sent Collins packing.

We don’t know where Collins got such a hard heart. Has he learned his lesson? He does have a reputation for turning around and saving businesses, despite what certain anti-Collins ads have said.

Speaking of which, shame on both camps for bringing down the collective IQ of the Western New York region for having to listen to their shameless, negative, baseless attack ads.

Despite the mud-slinging, both candidates have their merits. Based on her performance, albeit brief, in Washington, and Collins’ hardline stance as Erie County Executive, Kathy Hochul gets the nod and earns our endorsement.

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