Republicans honor Maziarz, who is retiring from State Senate

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 October 2014 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – George Maziarz receives a standing ovation during the Orleans County Republican Fall Rally on Friday at Hickory Ridge Country Club in Holley.

HOLLEY – For nearly two decades George Maziarz has been a ubiquitous presence in Orleans County, appearing at numerous fire department banquets, community parades, ribbon-cuttings and many other events.

Maziarz, a state senator since 1995, also worked hard for the county behind the scenes, advocating for residents and local officials, trying to bring state resources into the community.

“We’re going to miss him for lots and lots of reasons,” State Assemblyman Steve Hawley told about 300 Republicans at the fall rally. “He’s known as the hardest working senator in Albany.”

Maziarz is retiring from the State Senate and from nearly four decades of public service that started when he was appointed city clerk in North Tonawanda at age 25. The Niagara County resident said he won’t miss the frequent drives to Albany. He wants more time for his wife Beverly and their family.

Maziarz said he will remain a frequent presence in Orleans County, connecting with friends and helping to elect Republicans.

“I’m not going anywhere,” he said.

The Republican Party dedicated its fall yearbook to Maziarz on Friday and announced a plaque will hang in his honor in the County Legislature chambers.

Maziarz was credited with helping advance many projects in the county, including the construction of the $90 million ethanol plant in Medina by Western New York Energy. Maziarz said he tried to direct more low-cost hydropower allocations to projects in the county.

He made special note of Camp Rainbow in the Town of Ridgeway. Maziarz and several state legislators secured state funds for the camp, which is owned and operated by The Arc of Orleans County.

“Camp Rainbow is a little piece of Heaven right here in Orleans County,” Maziarz said. “God’s work is being done there.”

The Republican Party is backing Rob Ortt, the North Tonawanda mayor, to succeed Maziarz in the Senate. Ortt is challenged by Johnny Destino, an attorney and member of the boards of education for Niagara Falls and the Orleans-Niagara BOCES.

Rob Ortt addresses Orleans County Republicans on Friday during the fall rally.

Ortt has been North Tonawanda’s mayor for nearly five years. He served in the National Guard and was deployed to Afghanistan from March to December 2008. Prior to being elected mayor, he served as the city’s treasurer and then clerk-treasurer.

“He’s made the right decisions,” Maziarz said about Ortt. “That’s why I felt very comfortable stepping aside.”

Ortt told Repblicans he will work to repeal the SAFE Act, a controversial gun control measure passed in January 2013. He also said he would work to get rid of Common Core in schools.

The capitol needs more conservative voices from Upstate New York, Ortt said.

He told the group he would be an advocate for farmers, small business owners and Constitutional rights.

The group was also addressed by Rob Astorino, the candidate for governor, and Congressman Chris Collins. Collins, after a bitterly fought election win two years ago over Kathy Hochul, faces a little known challenger in Jim O’Donnell, a Buffalo police officer.

Jane Corwin of Clarence also spoke at the rally. Her district includes the Town of Shelby in Orleans County. She isn’t opposed this election.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley of Batavia has served in the Assembly for nearly nine years. He touted his perfect pro-business voting record. Unshackle Upstate has given him a perfect 100 for each of the past six years. Hawley said he is the only candidate with that distinction over six years.

He faces a challenge on Nov. 4 from Libertarian Party candidate Mark Glogowski of Hamlin.

Bob Antonacci, the Onondaga County comptroller, is running for state comptroller against incumbent Tom DiNapoli. If elected Antonacci would be the first state comptroller who is a certified public accountant. He said he has the skills to watch over taxpayers’ money.

Several candidates for State Supreme Court also attended the fall rally, including Frederick Marshall, Paul Wojtaszek, Jeannette Ogden and Dennis Ward.