Greg McAndrew, Candidate for Allegany County Legislature Representing District 4 Wellsville/Andover, answered some questions for us about his background, some important county issues, and of course his favorite food. McAndrew along with fellow challenger James Rumfelt, face a June 22nd Primary election against incumbent Legislators Steve Havey and Gary Barnes.
WS: You mentioned that you intend to bring a ‘fresh perspective’ to the legislature if elected. Can you elaborate on your perspective on Allegany County government?
When I said new perspective, I am speaking of large military commands, working inside the federal government and the processes I witnessed that worked and the hard lessons from failure.
I will bring a mixed bag of outsider experience and mix of my roots to county business.
I intend to ask a lot of why questions on how business is prioritized and conducted.
I bring zero conflicts of interest to my intended seat.
WS: Is it good government to have fifteen legislators governing a population of 46,000 people? Why or why not?
I have mixed feeling on the number of legislators.
On the surface it seems excessive compared to neighboring counties.
Then I consider the size and diversity of Allegany County and I want ensure all communities receive adequate representation.
I would be very interested on hearing voters voice their opinions on the matter.
WS: The district you are running in has the largest population and economy in the county, yet our legislators hold very little power compared to legislators from smaller districts. Should taxpayers expect more aggressive leadership in Belmont and how would you approach the challenge of shifting that political capital back to District 4 ?
Shifting power will be a delicate task. Communities far from Wellsville question the county airport being in Wellsville as one item.
I think as a group in fighting, a power struggles will get us no were.
I can enumerate so many mistakes made economically in Allegany County in the last fifty years.
Now, industry is on its last legs, we have lost most stores in shopping centers. Every town has vacant store fronts. Historic buildings are rotting away in villages.
I don’t have the answers yet, but there has to be a better way.
We need to question everything we have been doing as a government and the citizens need to get involved.
This area is awesome and needs a rebirth.
WS: Chairman Curt Crandall will be retiring from county politics this year. Who would you like to see fill those pretty big shoes?
I hope whoever it is that they truly focus on the county and ensure integrity in any decision or deal that is made.
WS: When you ask most county politicians, “Why can’t we reduce property taxes?”, the answer is almost always because of New York State unfunded mandates. Do you agree and if so what can Allegany County do to push back on these financial shackles?
This question will get me fired before I get elected.
But here it goes.…
For one thing Western NY is a pawn of NY City politics.
If west of the Hudson doesn’t vote together, NY City picks the governor and senators.
South Western NY share very few political views with them.
As a whole, we like guns, they don’t.
They want to encourage illegal immigration and fund it with our taxpayer money.
We want a decent job, good schools, and better life for our children.
Our governor doesn’t want to enforce laws other than his mandates.
Our citizens believe in enforcing the law.
We need to try and develop synergy with neighboring counties.
On a national and state level Republicans need to grow a spine. The only time I feel like their interested is when they want donations.
WS: Much to do was made over Allegany County Clerk Robert Christman hiring a family member for a county job. Our current county administrator is the daughter of Legislator Healy, member of four committees and chair of the Public Safety committee. What are your thoughts on this form of nepotism at the helm of our county government?
On nepotism in this county, I would ask all employees be fully qualified.
There are examples of relatives hired all over county and village government, not just Mr. Christman.
I would have a hard time not hiring a relative. I have kinfolk all over Andover, Scio, Friendship, Almond, Alfred and Wellsville.
Best answer: Ensure quality.
WS: How do you feel about the use of eminent domain for private economic development?
As a rule, I am not a big fan of eminent domain. I don’t favor Big Government as a whole.
WS: Since we introduced you to our readers, cannabis was legalized in New York. How do you feel about that and should Allegany County Economic Development discourage the industry or take the ‘bull by the horns’ and capitalize?
I would recommend cautious development, ensuring there are no traps or unintended consequences.
Related to the above I always thought the USA should end Randolph Hearst’s war on hemp and make hemp paper.
WS: Your career in the Navy seems interesting. Tell us about the road from enlistment to Acquisition Logistics ? What parts of that job do you think will be important in politics?
I grew up in the Navy.
I engaged with people all over the world, and found if politics were removed, we all wanted the same things.
Doing Acquisition, I learned how much Congress ran the military budget. They rarely gave what was required but were quick to assign blame to Program Managers.
I think dealing with large diverse groups and getting things accomplished will help me in the position.
WS: This election, two incumbents and two challengers for three seats: With the other challenger being a long time Chief of Police in the district, how does Greg McAndrew plan to overcome the natural disadvantages in place
I have no huge plan. I plan on being Greg McAndrew and engaging people.
I have a lot of friends and support so far and I feel good about my chances.
I am offering residents something new. People have nothing to lose by supporting me. I have spoken to a lot of dissatisfied citizens and I promise to do my best.
WS: Your father Jim, and his best friend brother Vince, were solid gold kind of guys. Tell us how they impacted your life and times so far?
My Uncle Vince was my best buddy, golf partner, hunting buddy etc.
He was well read and very smooth and straight up.
My Father could do anything he set his mind to and always taught us the value of hard work.
WS: In terms of political philosophy, which US President has influenced you the most and why?
Reagan was a big influence, he worked across the aisle and restored America’s faith in itself.
I also like JFK.
WS: You are only allowed to eat one food menu item, prepared within the Wellsville/Andover district, choice wisely!!!???
Surf and Turf!!