Yochim to run against Goodell for Assembly

MAYVILLE – A Chautauqua County native has plans to run for state Assembly.

The Chautauqua County Democratic Committee met Thursday at the Chautauqua Suites Hotel in Mayville to endorse its 2014 slate of candidates.

Barrie Yochim, executive director of Meals on Wheels, will be running for the state Assembly’s 150th district.

“This is something I’ve thought about for many years,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot about the state working with Meals on Wheels.”

Yochim mentioned that often, Chautauqua County gets overshadowed by other parts of the state.

“I want to do something to make (the county) more important than that,” he said.

The Assembly candidate said that he would “hammer” on two specific points while campaigning: he plans to make the Assembly his full-time job and stress the importance of having a Chautauqua County Democrat as part of the assembly, which has a majority of Democrats.

According to Yochim, he has already notified Meals on Wheels – if he is elected, they will need to find him a replacement within 60 days.

Yochim has plans to employ a Latino female who he believes will be an asset on his staff.

According to Yochim, she is not just a Latino female who will do a great job, she will do a great job – and she happens to be female and Latino.

“My staff will need to represent my constituents,” Yochim explained

According to Chuck Nazzaro, D-Jamestown, who publicly endorsed Yochim at the meeting, Yochim will make an excellent candidate.

“Barrie listens and respects others’ points of view,” Nazzaro said.

Norm Green, Chautauqua County Democratic chairman, agreed.

“We truly have an A-list candidate,” he said.

Andy Goodell, R-Jamestown, currently holds the 150th Assembly seat.

Martha Robertson, D-Dryden, current Tompkins County legislator and candidate for the 23rd Congressional District, also spoke at the meeting.

“We have a lot of work to do, together,” Robertson said. “If something needs to be done, you don’t wait for someone else to do it, you step up,” she added.

“We absolutely can win this race – we need Chautauqua County.”

According to Fredonia Mayor Stephen Keefe, Robertson is a “true Democrat” with strong ethics and values.

Nancy Bargar, D-Lakewood, added that she has never been a part of a more methodical campaign.

“The campaign started early and the money is rising,” she said.

During the meeting, Robertson expressed her opposition to the SAFE Act.

“I voted against the SAFE Act in Tompkins County,” Robertson said.

Robertson also received unanimous endorsement by the committee.

Currently, Tom Reed, R-Corning, holds the 23rd Congressional District seat.

Nazzaro also spoke on behalf of incumbent Joe Gerace, who will again be running for sheriff.

“You won’t find anyone more concerned about the safety of this county,” Nazzaro said. “You won’t find anyone more respected across the state for what he does.”

Gerace is currently in his fifth four-year term as sheriff. He was out of town Thursday night.

According to Green, it is possible that Gerace could run against a Republican candidate in the upcoming election.

Gerace received a unanimous endorsement by the committee for the election.

Petitions for Congress will begin circulating on Tuesday. Petitions for sheriff, 150th Assembly district and 57th state Senate district will begin circulating on Tuesday, June 3.