Lemon Ready For Third Legislative Term

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the 12th in a series of articles highlighting major issues facing each of the 19 Chautauqua County districts and the legislators who will preside over them.

After a brief time away, Ron Lemon is ready for a third term with the Chautauqua County Legislature.

On Wednesday, Lemon will join 12 other Republicans to make up the supermajority of the new 19-member legislature.

“I think the people on the Democrat side of the isle need to know we (the Republicans) will value their opinion,” he said. “We want positive, forward thinking ideas that we can support from both sides to benefit all residents of the county.”

Issues in District 16 include the SAFE Act and economic development.

Of the SAFE Act, which was signed into law on Jan. 15 by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and imposed a variety of restrictions on gun owners, Lemon said he found it to be a “huge issue” in the town of Poland.

“It’s a law that failed the people,” he said. “If they put it up as a referendum across New York state and let the people decide, I don’t think the majority of residents would ever pass or support it.”

He will work with other legislators like Terry Niebel, R-Sheridan, on a county level in order to support repeal of the SAFE Act, which is only possible through state legislature.

In other matters, Lemon wants to see job creation.

He said property taxes need to be lowered in order to encourage a more business-friendly economic environment.

“It’s the same story that it’s been for so long,” he said. “We can lower property taxes by reducing some of the unfunded mandates in New York state.”

In turn, eliminating “burdensome” mandates would encourage private sector companies to operate in Chautauqua County, hiring more people and more tax payers.

As a former legislator, Lemon was the chairman of the Human Services Committee and said furthering the county’s Welfare to Work program is essential.

“For too long, we’ve been lowering a cash bucket into the hole and pulling it back out empty,” he said. “All we’re doing is filling it back up, instead of sending a ladder down there so people can climb out.”

In addition to his position as a legislator, Lemon is a full-time pastor and has three other part-time jobs including officiating basketball for two separate organizations and driving a school bus for Frewsburg.

“If you really want to be self-sufficient, you will be,” Lemon said. “There are jobs to be had.”

However, he added that the government should support veterans, the disabled and senior citizens “who have paid into the system all their lives.”

Lemon will support the establishment of residency requirements to receive welfare benefits, which has been highly discussed within Human Services and Audit and Control committees in Mayville within the past few months.

He added that he’s in favor of reducing the amount of time benefits are available to welfare recipients from 60 months to 30.

“I think, after two and a half years (of being on welfare), people need to find a job,” Lemon said.

In terms of issues countywide, Lemon is in favor of selling the Chautauqua County Home.

“We need to allow somebody with the ability to come in from the private sector and expand the type of bed we could have in the County Home,” he said, adding that more jobs could possibly be created as a result.