By JOHN ANDERSON
Republicans in the 23rd Congressional District will go to the polls on Tuesday, Aug. 23 to determine who will be their candidate in the November general election.
On Monday night, Nick Langworthy spent over two hours in Wellsville talking to voters at the Wellsville Country Club. Langworthy gave a speech for about 30 minutes and then took a wide-array of questions from the audience. When he didn’t have the answer, he invited the person who asked the question to visit with him after the event in the dining room.
Langworthy came on the scene and was known in the Southern Tier when he worked in the district office for Congressman Tom Reynolds. The Pine Valley graduate who grew up in the Cattaraugus County town of South Dayton, became the Erie County Republican Chairman and then the New York State Republican Chairman.
He is running against one-time governor candidate Carl Paladino, who has a lot of signs in the portion of Erie County of the district that simply say “Carl’s Country.” Langworthy said he will never call any part of the district his country. He also urged Republicans to support Lee Zeldin for governor.
Langworthy said knowing the entire district, from the portions of Erie County and Jamestown to Ithaca will help him if elected to explain to others in Congress, and even those from New York, what difficulties face residents of the Southern Tier.
The loss of manufacturing jobs came up, and Langworthy let out a sigh.
“We got addicted to cheap, manufactured items sold at Walmart,” Langworthy said.
He spoke with passion about the ability to extract energy just miles away in Pennsylvania, but in New York businesses are handcuffed and the higher-paying jobs are going elsewhere. He talked about the negativity of closing pipelines and his concern who will take care of wind farms in 40 years. He also talked about farming in the Southern Tier.
Langworthy doesn’t want to see people give up and leave New York state. He made a statement that brought a round of laughter.
“No one is sitting in South Carolina right now and saying, ‘you know what? I’ve had enough, we’re moving to New York!’ No one is sitting in Venezuela is saying ‘we need to barrier our borders, people are trying to sneak in here!’ We are a terrible destination in that regard,” Langworthy said.
Langworthy also talked about the large number of schools in the Southern Tier with small graduating classes, yet each school has a superintendent, principal, business managers, athletic directors and other levels of administration.
“I graduated from Pine Valley in 1999 with 65 kids. When I came back to deliver the commencement speech in 2015, there were 32 people in that same graduating class. In less than 20 years, the population essentially was in half. There is no greater report card in health and our future than the graduating class,” Langworthy said. “And if it’s cut in half over a 20 year period, what is our prescription going forward? How much money is it costing us to run these institutions and schools and education?”
Langworthy talked about the importance of working with both parties to get legislation passed. He did make it clear that legislation would not be throwing money at problems. He mentioned ways to get American workers involved to combat issues like a baby formula shortage.
The talk came back to the Southern Tier losing jobs at the former Dresser-Rand and Lukfin.
“Let’s talk about these multi-national companies. It’s a serious problem,” he said. “We need to get real about saving American jobs. President Trump reattached us to our working class roots. I’m told I can’t get a car for six months because we don’t make enough chips in the U.S. Why do we let critical infrastructure like that get housed in the Far East?”
Langworthy said over time, we need a new generation of elected officials and term limits.
“I’m 41, and if elected, how many people I’ll see who have been in office longer than I’ve been alive?” He said.
The district, which was last held by Tom Reed, includes a small part of Erie and Niagara counties, and also Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany, Steuben, Schuyler, Ontario, Yates, Seneca, Wayne and Cayuga and Chemung counties.
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