Chautauqua County, 2018

men, this is Vince Horrigan. Welcome aboard my vision for 2018 as I take you on a tour of Chautauqua County four years after electing me as your County Executive.

We have a full flight today, thanks to aggressive marketing and new flight options which have grown the number of passengers traveling in and out of our county airports. We expect a smoother ride today after successfully navigating through some turbulent economic conditions four years ago. I would like to welcome aboard those existing businesses which have seen real job growth due to investments from our academic, private and IDA resources. I would especially like to welcome aboard those newly employed citizens who used expanded job-readiness training and welfare reforms to become self-sufficient.

As you look out the left side of the aircraft you will see beautiful Chautauqua Lake which now has a sewer system completely connected around the lake, significantly reducing the algae and weeds of four years ago. Looking into the distance you can see Empire Cheese, the new business located in the former AFA Foods location and now employing over 200 people.

For those on the right side, you will soon see the increased boating activity along our Lake Erie Harbors where the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ dredging project has expanded our commercial fishing and recreational boating. In a few minutes you will see new construction along our North County region where installation of the regional water district has attracted innovative food processing and spin-off businesses. Please note the new construction activity around the old Chautauqua County Home campus where medical adult care, assisted living and independent living additions have added new employment, expanded our tax base and attracted seniors from Buffalo to Erie, Pa. Please don’t be distressed with the heavy car and bus traffic on Routes 5 and 20 as the rapid growth in the Lake Erie Wine Trail is bringing in tourists from Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Buffalo. Off in the distance you will see the new water park and hotel in Irving which is drawing families from Buffalo and Erie County.

As we begin our approach for landing I want to thank you for placing your trust in me as we steered our way through stormy times into brighter days of growth and economic security. On behalf of our children, and grandchildren, I want to thank you for flying with me into a more prosperous community where our children find good jobs and will come back home to raise their families.

Editor’s Note: Horrigan’s opponent in the County Executive race, Democrat Ron Johnson, was offered space on this page. Johnson did not submit a column before press time.