A former Herkimer County legislator has announced his candidacy for the state Assembly. Joseph Chilelli addressed supporters during a kick-off for his campaign to represent the newly-formed 118th District during an event at DePalma’s Restaurant on Wednesday night.
“We need better representation. I have nothing against my opponent. I believe he is a good man. But we need someone who is going to fight for them,” said Chilelli.
Chilelli, a Democrat, said he moved to the area from Long Island 13 years ago with his family.
“I came here because the area is so beautiful and it has so much to offer,” he said. “I can see there is so much opportunity here.”
Chilelli said he wants to see municipalities to develop a five-, 10- or 15-year plan so they have a path for moving forward.
He encouraged his supporters and those interested in viewing his stance on the issues to go to his website at www.ChilelliForAssembly.com. “We need people to join us. So if you believe in change and want better representation, then join us,” he said.
Chilelli, who served on the county legislature from 2008 to 2009, will challenge 17-year incumbent Marc Butler.
“I think I got a good record and have a good reputation for constituent service,” said Butler during a telephone interview on Thursday afternoon. “I have a great staff, and they’re very good at taking care of the needs of our constituents. I’m very confident that based on the record I’ve established that I will be able to run an aggressive and successful campaign.”
Butler also noted with his seniority in Albany, he has gained “substantial leadership roles and have been appointed to important committees,” including the economic development committee, where he is the ranking Republican.
Butler, who currently represents the 117th District, will represent the 118th if re-elected. He said the redistricting has cut Herkimer County in half and he lost what is south of the Mohawk River. The new district includes portions of the North Country, including Hamilton and St. Lawrence counties.
“They’re largely rural, largely conservative areas,” he said. “I think my personal philosophy is compatible with the new district. Even though it’s changed, I’m pleased to be able to represent the whole area.”