Sara Beilein Capen this week announced her candidacy for Niagara County Legislature. The Burt resident is pursuing the 14th district seat being vacated by John Syracuse at the end of the year.
Capen is running on the Democratic and Working Families Party ballot lines, to give district voters "a choice," she said.
“I’ve always been committed to our community and to Niagara County, and for this particular position I feel very strongly that it’s important to provide a choice, because this seat has been unopposed for at least 15 years,” Capen said.
Capen is the executive director of the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area, where she said her work is tied directly to issues that affect all of Niagara County, such as tourism, advocacy and economic development.
She's also a member of the Newfane town planning board, through which she has worked on the town's proposed solar law. She says that legislation exemplifies what's needed in the community: balance.
“I feel we were really smart in how we designed the solar code. These are big changes and conversations on the future and we just have to find those balances," Capen said. "I think the planning board, collectively, we worked really hard to analyze it. I certainly credit my fellow planning board members.”
Capen said she has high interest in promoting rural tourism. As millions of dollars are spent to improve Olcott Harbor, through grants obtained by the Town of Newfane, she sees opportunities to increase business throughout the region.
“I feel all the work I’ve done professionally is a perfect stage to be able to take that one step further. To take that investment in the waterfront and take that to the rest of the community,” Capen said. “To be a strong waterfront community that is a connector to agri-tourism, so when people come down here they’ll be connected to the Niagara Wine Trail ... would consider going out on a fishing charter. To be that place that is a 'must-see' for visitors coming to Niagara Falls. For them to extend their stay, to get them to spend more dollars, but to connect to the tremendous freshwater coast line and natural assets we have.”
Capen and her husband have five sons. She said they all enjoy fishing, sailing, biking and sports.
“Having grown up in Newfane and Somerset, I simply can’t imagine a better place to have been raised and to raise my family today,” Capen said. "I look forward to further engaging with members of my community on the issues that matter the most to them."