Wydysh confirms she will run again

Rick Pfeiffer, Niagara Gazette, Niagara Falls, N.Y.
·3 min read

Apr. 8—The first Republican female chair of the Niagara County Legislature, Rebecca Wydysh, has announced she will seek election to another two-year term of office.

Wydysh represents District 2 in the legislature which includes the village of Lewiston and parts of the towns of Lewiston and Wheatfield.

"When I became chairman of the legislature in January of 2020, I talked about the need to modernize our government and usher in a new era of collaboration between all levels of government," Wydysh said. "Little did I know that the ensuing COVID-19 pandemic would stretch our capabilities to the limit and drive county government to embrace both innovation and collaboration in order to meet the challenge."

Wydysh said the county faces a host of challenges in the coming years, including rebuilding the economy post-pandemic and reopening the border with Canada.

"We are a border community, and cross border trade and tourism are major parts of our economy," she said. "I will continue to be in contact with our federal officials, imploring them to put a plan in place with our Canadian counterparts that sets a course to safely reopening the border."

Wydysh indicated her support for the legislature to adopt a plan for how to best use the county's share of federal stimulus money from the American Rescue Plan. She said she believes the plan should include help for small businesses that "are barely hanging on through the pandemic."

"Every report I read emphasizes that the vast majority of people work for a small business, so helping these businesses recover also means helping get people back to work," Wydysh said. "Niagara County was leading all of Western New York in economic growth before the pandemic hit and I know we can regain our momentum."

Wydysh did not supply data to support her economic growth claim.

Other items on Wydysh's to-do list include "continuing the fight against the opioid crisis that was made worse during the isolation of the pandemic." Wydysh has served as the chair of OASIS (Niagara County's Opioid Task Force) for the past four years.

During that time, she said, she has brought together leaders of community organizations, law enforcement and first responder agencies, schools, volunteers, and "true experts" in the area of substance use disorder, in a combined effort to bring awareness, education, and help to those who are struggling with addiction.

"The opioid crisis has decimated so many families, but the efforts of our Opioid Task Force had begun to take hold and we were seeing some real progress," Wydysh said. "Unfortunately, many of our gains were lost, as opioid overdoses and deaths both increased significantly during the pandemic. We need to redouble our efforts and get those numbers headed in the right direction again."

In a nod to the impacts of the pandemic, Wydysh praised the efforts of health care workers, first responders, essential workers and the public at-large in the fight against COVID-19.

"We truly embodied the definition of community during the pandemic as so many people stepped forward to help their neighbors, to make sacrifices for the greater good, and to do whatever they could in the Covid battle," Wydysh said. "It's this sense of community service that makes me proud to serve in the legislature and hopefully with the backing of voters, I will continue to do so."

Wydysh is currently the endorsed candidate of the county Republican and Conservative committees.