Think Erie County government doesn’t make sense? Well, you’re in luck. Amherst Deputy Supervisor and Councilman Guy Marlette wants to bring a commonsense approach to Erie County. He believes more business and financial expertise must be brought to government to ensure long-term fiscal stability - and he’s running for the County legislature to do it.
But Marlette is not just another aspiring politician: He’s the Erie County Republicans’ best hope to gain another seat in their County Legislature majority. He’s locked in a battle with Democrat incumbent Tom Loughran, proprietor of the popular restaurant of the same name on Main Street in Snyder. It promises to be a battle worth watching.
As Vice President of Buffalo-based Alternative Information Systems, Inc., Marlette understands the challenges companies face with balancing health insurance costs, fair wages and finding highly qualified workers. Today, the company has 30 employees, about the size of many of Western New York's best - and most challenged - employers. It's a perspective he thinks is sorely needed in County Hall.
A longtime resident of Amherst, Marlette is focused on community needs. He served as President of the privately funded Amherst Youth Foundation, President of Amherst Drug Court and Therapeutic Foundation, and ran fundraising events for Gateway-Longview Youth and Family Services because he believes it’s important to get involved in the community.
Marlette wears many hats on the Amherst town council, including liaison to the Amherst Traffic Safety Board, Amherst Veterans Committee, Historic Preservation, Youth Board, Recreation Commission, Eggertsville Community Organization, University at Buffalo, and Daemen College. He also serves as President of The Hope Center Board. His past positions include President of the Rotary Club of Amherst South, President of the Youth Foundation, and President of the Drug Court and Therapeutic Foundation.
That’s a full plate. But under Marlette’s leadership, Amherst residents have also gained more fiscal stability, lowered taxes, improved infrastructure, and more programs. He knows how to manage a budget. And on the top of his priority list: the infrastructure problems he sees in the 60 percent of Amherst included in the fifth legislative district. He believes corners are being cut in road construction, making them far less sustainable. If the County took serious weather problems more into account in the construction phase, fewer road repairs would be needed in the future.
Marlette believes Erie County’s biggest challenge is the rising cost of mandated services. He doesn’t believe in quick fixes and wants to stabilize taxes long-term. To control the cost of government he wants to plan for the next decade, not just the next fiscal year.
“I want to bring focus of the fifth district into Amherst and balance the needs of each district to create a stronger county,” Marlette said. “Budget decisions should not be made just because it’s a good campaign spiel.”
“My track record on the Amherst Town Board for the past eight years has given me insight on how to understand a problem, look at the issue, and create solutions that work,” Marlette said. “My approach works: our board has cut taxes in Amherst for the past five years.”
Marlette also believes that investing in Erie Community College (ECC) would attract more students and in turn, keep surrounding businesses thriving. “There has been no investment back into the college and this drives students to colleges outside of the County,” he said. His idea: if ECC’s North Campus were better kept, more area residents would study in town and patronize local businesses.
Today, Marlette’s duties go beyond planning a budget; his time on the town board has helped schools like Sweet Home High School. In 2009, Sweet Home hired School Resource Officer Jeffery Gilbert - a law-enforcement officer, a law-related teacher, and a counselor to maintain a safe and secure school environment. Right off the bat, Gilbert developed positive relationships with students and staff. According to the councilman, this helps reduce long-term costs like drug court.
Marlette is also focused on the long-term effects of taxes. He has fought for decreasing costs through innovation while serving on the town’s Information Technology Advisory Committee. This is what he means by a commonsense approach: strategic and efficient measures stabilized taxes in the town of Amherst. And he says these aren’t temporary fixes – they’re built to last.
“I think we need to start making decisions that aren’t necessarily feel good decisions,” Marlette said. "We must take the time to ensure decisions being made today won’t hurt residents five to 10 years down the road."
Defeating an incumbent is always an uphill battle; beating a restaurateur who greets his customers at the door every day is a remarkable feat. But Marlette is already out in the neighborhoods he knows best, making good on his commitment to the county GOP: nobody will work harder than he does to win.
To learn more, visit Guy Marlette’s website at http://www.guymarlette.com/