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Son of Polish and Ukrainian immigrants stressed
the importance of public service and voting

At the invitation of the Rotary Club of Amherst South, Comptroller Stefan I. Mychajliw Jr. addressed members about the upcoming November elections, the importance of voting and the role every voter has in the electoral process. During its monthly meeting, and just weeks before the 2018 general election, Rotary members heard from Comptroller Mychajliw about his unique appreciation for democracy and his passion for promoting the importance of voting. 

“Had my family not fled the iron fist of a communist regime, they never would have had the right to vote.  Unfortunately, many around the world are denied the opportunity to choose their government through free and fair elections.  My own family was denied basic rights, like voting. One of my proudest moments was driving my father to his polling place to vote for me when I first ran for the Office of Comptroller.  I witnessed my father exercising his right to vote, and voting for his own son who shares his name.  That shows how great America is.  That represents the strength of our democracy. The process only succeeds when people participate by voting on Election Day,” said Comptroller Mychajliw. 

He noted some well-known races where the outcome was decided by only a few votes. In the 2009 race for Erie County Comptroller, a candidate lost the Independence Party line by only 12 votes. 

In 2015, two important town races came down to low double digits. In Amherst, the Highway Superintendent won by a margin of 21 votes with 21,915 total votes cast. The Grand Island Supervisor’s race in 2015 was decided by just 14 votes. Last month, in the Town of Orchard Park, a candidate seeking the Working Families Party line lost by one vote with only three votes total being cast. 

“People can make a difference by casting a ballot in free elections. Here at home, in a free country, we should never take that for granted.   Every vote counts. I have been fortunate to have won three elections, but I never take a single vote for granted. While voting is an absolute right, holding office is a privilege.  I respect the process and the job that voters put me in office to do,” said Comptroller Mychajliw.

The son of Polish and Ukrainian immigrants, Comptroller Mychajliw is the youngest of seven children. His family valued hard work and doing whatever jobs necessary to make ends meet. His father was a typewriter repairman and his mother worked numerous blue-collar jobs, mostly in factories. His grandfather and grandmother worked at Mercy Hospital as a groundskeeper and janitor, respectively. 

Ensuring that those lessons are not lost in the next generation, Comptroller Mychajliw and his wife, Ashley, a social worker, are raising their two children, Mia, 12, and Maksym Roman, 7 months, in Hamburg. The couple brings Mia with them to vote at their respective polling place, and even brought baby Maksym along to cast a ballot in the September 2018 Primary. 

“I want to thank the Rotary Club of Amherst South for inviting me to speak about the importance of participating in elections.  They do tremendous work making Amherst a better place to live.  I greatly appreciate the opportunity to talk about the greatest democracy in the world: the United States of America,” concluded Comptroller Mychajliw.