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August 2012 Column - Keeping in Touch


OFFICE HIGHLIGHTS

Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick, joined by Grand Island Supervisor Mary Cooke, City of Tonawanda Mayor Rick Davis and Town of Tonawanda Supervisor Anthony Caruana, recently welcomed Visit Buffalo Niagara President and CEO Patrick Kaler to...

It was 25 years ago that I began my job as a political science professor atCanisius College. Back then we were just becoming acquainted with that phenomenon known as the World Wide Web. Very few people had...

Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick announces that the Grand Island Golden Age Center, serving senior citizens, has received a new van thanks to the 2014 Community Development Block Grant (CDGB). The grant included $55,000 for a new van, which...

Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick (R-4th District), joined Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz, Town of Tonawanda Supervisor Anthony Caruana, Town of Tonawanda Highway Superintendent William Swanson, Erie County...

It is no secret that the county road system was in sorry shape even before the harsh winter of 2014. Some people I talk with blame the Red and Green Budget mess of 2005 with its Draconian cuts to the county Department of Public Works. Others say...

oneilj - Posted on 08 August 2012

Representative democracy hinges on representatives keeping in close contact with citizens.  At the same time, taxpayers expect their elected officials to spend their money wisely.  As the county legislative representative for Grand Island, the City of Tonawanda and much of the Town of Tonawanda, I am ever mindful of this. 

 

Sometimes staying in touch with constituents and efficiency seem to be in direct conflict.  Such was the case with the decision I faced regarding a district office.  Previous county legislators paid thousands of dollars to maintain a separate office in the district in addition to the one they had downtown next to the legislative chambers.  I had never seen a line coming out of any county legislator’s district office and could not justify the expense of leased space, copiers, additional phone and fax lines, and other utilities that would be required for a second office.  So I chose to save taxpayers a few dollars and never opened one.  If I had to regularly travel to Washington or Albany, my decision might have been different.  But I live and work right here and can visit people in their homes when necessary. 

 

Another way I try to keep in touch is through outreach events.  This involves scheduling times when I will be available to meet people in a library, senior center or some other public setting.  No appointments are necessary for these one-on-one meetings.  The next ones are scheduled for Wednesday, August 22nd from 10 am – Noon at the Grand Island Public Library and Friday, August 24th from 2-4 pm at the City of Tonawanda Public Library.  This fall, I will also resume my popular series of “District Discussions” where I invite citizens to sit around a table and discuss county issues with me.  I am sure there will be plenty to talk about since the 2013 county budget and the Buffalo Bill’s lease will both be on the front burner.  If you would like to be invited to one of these sessions, please contact me.

 

Recently, I have also been distributing my “County Legislative Report” to constituents.  The difference between this report and others you may have received is that mine does not contain fancy artwork or photos.  This is because it is not produced at taxpayer expense.  Instead, I print it off from my home computer and I distribute it by walking door-to-door.  I have been to hundreds of doors in the last couple weeks, but there are thousands more to visit.  If I am unable to get to yours and you’d like a copy of the newsletter, contact me and I’ll make sure you get one.

 

If you have thoughts you would like to share, I would love to hear from you.  I can be contacted by phone at 858-8672 or via email at kevin.hardwick@erie.gov.