County DA, Two Mansfield Board Candidates
By Jann Wiswall
Registered Republicans in Cattaraugus County have the opportunity to vote next Tuesday, Sept. 10, for County District Attorney, and Republicans in the Town of Mansfield will choose two candidates for Town Board.
Running in the countywide Republican primary for the four-year term as district attorney are incumbent Lori P. Rieman and County Public Defender Mark S. Williams. With no Democrats running in November, this primary likely will determine the election.
In Mansfield, two board positions expire this year — those of James A. Hammond and Donald F. Mosher. Both are running for re-election against a third candidate, Larry A. Johnson. The primary will ask voters to select two of the three, and in November, those two winners will run against Patriot Party challenger Greg Meyer for the two open seats.
The Ellicottville Times asked the three Republican primary candidates to tell us a little about themselves and to comment on what they believe is the role of the Town Board, how they feel they are qualified for the elected position and what they hope to achieve as a board member. The following is a summary of their responses.
James A. Hammond
James (Jim) Hammond grew up on a family dairy farm in the Town of Mansfield and attended Little Valley Central School. He has been married to his wife Barbara for 52 years. The couple has two grown children, Nathan Hammond and Heidi Lee Brewer.
Hammond served with the Cattaraugus County Department of Public Works for more than 25 years and retired as bridge construction supervisor. Since his retirement, he has been raising beef cattle on his farm in Mansfield.
As a current councilman on the Town Board who also serves as deputy supervisor, Hammond notes that the largest portion of Mansfield residents’ tax dollars goes to highway-related expenses. He feels his experience in road construction, machinery purchasing and repair work, along with bridge maintenance and culvert replacement, plus his years of experience on the board, qualify him for another term.
Hammond says he will “continue to work for a safe, attractive and low-taxed rural township.” He also feels “we need to stand firm against increased taxes and losing land owner freedom and privileges.”
Larry A. Johnson
Larry A. Johnson was born in Mansfield and graduated from Ellicottville Central School in 1979. He and his wife Phyllis have two children, both of whom now live out of state. Johnson worked for Chester-Jensen in Cattaraugus for 27 years, during which time he was a union griever for three years and unit chairman for six years. He also is owner of Johnson Auto, a used car dealership and repair shop in Mansfield.
Johnson points out that Mansfield has “changed from a farming town with many small farms to a town with one major farm and a few smaller farms.” As “Ellicottville expand[s] into the township … our infrastructure has to keep up.”
As an owner of a used car dealership and repair shop for 10 years, Johnson understands “some of the cost of repairs and maintenance of town equipment, as well as the hours of work it takes.”
While the “town board has done a good job with the budget,” he says, “I feel that a lot of pressure is being put on just too few people” to get the work done.
Donald F. Mosher
Donald (Don) Mosher grew up in Erie, Pa., and graduated from the Pennsylvania State University in 1960 with a B.S. degree in Parks and Recreation Administration. During the early years of his career, Mosher served as parks and recreation director for a large school district in Western Pennsylvania and as business manager and assistant director for development for Penn State’s New Kensington Campus. He and his wife Carol have lived in Mansfield for 32 years and own and operate Marble Works in Ellicottville. They have three grown sons — Jeff, Dan and Pete.
Mosher believes that “the role of the Town Board is to provide reasonably priced services such as well-maintained roads and snowplowing for all residents … and to enact local laws and regulations for the benefit of residents.”
Mosher served for nine years on Mansfield’s Planning Board and is seeking his third term on the Town Board. If reelected, he will work to continue to “lower the tax rate per $1,000 … which has been improving for the past 15 years.” He also wants to “continue to help the Historical Society preserve the past for all and to provide activities for our Senior Citizens to enjoy.”