Grand Island
League of Women Voters Web Page

1272 Delaware Ave. Buffalo, NY 14209

Contact Persons:
Elsa Bondar, 773-5344 or Lee Tetkowski, 773-3266

   The League of Women Voters is a multi-issue organization whose mission is to encourage the informed and active participation of citizens in government and to influence public policy through education and advocacy. Membership is open to all U.S. citizens, both women and men, of voting age.
   The League of Women Voters does not support or oppose political parties or candidates. In addition to providing voter information, the League studies governmental issues and, after arriving at consensus, takes action on those issues.
   Projects we are engaged in for Grand Island include co-sponsoring Kids Vote and Candidates Nights before elections. Another one of our services that affects Grand Island is publishing and distributing before each election the "ERIE COUNTY ELECTION BULLETIN," a non-partisan introduction to the candidates, their backgrounds and some of their ideas. We also publish and distribute "THEY REPRESENT YOU," a list of elected officials in Erie County. We have recently produced "THE ERIE COUNTY BOOK," which describes all the many offices and functions of Erie County Government and sells for $3.00.

Voters' Guide 2008 - October 2008

    The League of Women Voters of Buffalo Niagara's Voters' Guide 2008 is available at the Grand Island Memorial Library on Bedell Road.

Candidates For State Assembly, 144th District - 2006

Sam Hoyt                              Rus Thompson

   The following is published in the 2006 Voters' Guide, printed by the non-partisan League of Women Voters of New York State and the League of Women Voters of Buffalo Niagara. Copies of the complete Voters' Guide are available at the Grand Island Memorial Library, 1715 Bedell Road.

New York State Assembly - Term: 2 years - Salary $79,500
The Senate and Assembly are concerned with issues at the state level. They enact laws, pass a state budget, and discuss public policy issues.

Questions: Replies to these questions are printed as received with no correction of spelling, punctuation or grammar.

There is growing support for reform of the Rockefeller drug laws. What will you do to:
  a. Initiate significant reform of these laws;
  b. Provide adequate financial support for programs, on the community level, designed to cope with the impact of such reform?

What programs and actions will you support to protect communities from the negative consequences of the state's increasing dependence on gambling revenue?

The candidates for the 144th District - Erie County - Town of Grand Island; part of the City of Buffalo
Rus Thompson
Republican, Conservative
Residence: Grand Island
Age: 50
Campaign Phone: (716) 775-3207
FAX: (716) 775-3207
Education: High school 1974; US Army 1976-1979; 10 years self educated in how politics works and doesn't work.
Occupation: Self employed Home Remodeling Contractor; Currently holding no political office
Experience & Qualifications: Co-Founder Primary Challenge, was instrumental in the formation of FreeBuffalo/FreeNewYork and received "Hero of the Tax Revolt from its Founder
Rus Thompson's answer to the question regarding "Rockefeller drug laws"
A) Reforming these laws could save the taxpayers $200 million a year and free up prison cells for real criminals. The intent was to stop the drug king pins, it has done the opposite and has instead imprisoned first timers for up to 20 years for minor amounts of drugs.
B) Alternatives are available that would help cut crime, save money, and rebuild individual lives and communities at a much lower cost to the taxpayers. The cost of most drug free outpatient care runs between $2,700 - $4,500 per person per year Vs Prison at $32,000 per year.
Rus Thompson's answer to the question regarding "protecting communities from the negative consequences of the state's increasing dependence on gambling revenue"
Any type of revenue is an addiction to politicians especially from gambling. Until we can start replacing the incumbents with fresh faces and fresh ideas we will continue down the same destructive path.

Sam Hoyt (incumbent)
Democrat, Independence, Working Families
Residence: Buffalo
Age: 44
Campaign Phone: (716) 812-2049
Education: I graduated from the State University of New York at Buffalo with a Bachelor's degree in Political Science. Shortly after my graduation, I was honored by the college's United Student Government with an induction to its Hall of Fame.
Occupation: I am proud to have represented the 144th Assembly District since 1992, and I remain dedicated to fighting for the issues that are important to so many.
Experience & Qualifications: As a member of the WNY delegation and a lifelong resident of the city's West side, I am intimate with not only the job of state legislator but the issues affecting my constituents as well. Each of my 14 years in office has brought tremendous opportunities for growth and learning.
Sam Hoyt's answer to the question regarding "Rockefeller drug laws"
I sponsored initial reform legislation, which doesn't go far enough, and will co-sponsor future reform. I would support the reinvestment of savings accrued by implementing reform into community-based programs that are dedicated to treating and rehabilitating drug users.
Sam Hoyt's answer to the question regarding "protecting communities from the negative consequences of the state's increasing dependence on gambling revenue"
As one of the State's leading opponents of gambling revenue, I have and will sponsor legislation that curbs gambling opportunities, including bills addressing its societal costs. I annually provide financial support to the Jewish Family Service's compulsive gambling program and understand that the state's reliance on gambling revenue harms communities.

Town Justice Candidates Respond To Questions
Provided By League Of Women Voters - September 2005

    Town Justice candidates, running in the Tuesday, September 13, 2005 primary election, have responded to the following questions, chosen from a suggested group of questions by the League of Women Voters. The candidates are listed in the order the responses were received.
• How would you improve the administration of the justice system in your community?
• Would you utilize alternatives to incarceration?
• Do you feel there are sufficient alternative programs in your community?
Click for
Michael Anthony Rossi Response
Click for Mark J. Frentzel Response
Click for Michael Coutu Response

Town Justice Candidates Receive Questions
Proposed By League Of Women Voters - September 2005 has approached the Town Justice candidates, running in the Tuesday, September 13, 2005 primary election, to respond to the following questions, chosen from a suggested group of questions by the League of Women Voters. The purpose is an attempt to inform the Grand Island voters of the personal views of the judicial candidates.
   The questions are:
• How would you improve the administration of the justice system in your community?
• Would you utilize alternatives to incarceration?
• Do you feel there are sufficient alternative programs in your community?
   Candidates' responses will be posted in the Thursday, September 8, 2005 edition of's E-News.

League Of Women Voters Offers Guide To Government Officials

   The League of Women Voters is providing a Citizens' Guide to all Erie County Local, State and Federal Elected officials, available free in the Town Clerk's office at Town Hall, the Grand Island Memorial Library, and at the Senior Citizens Center, 3278 Whitehaven Road. This pamphlet is filled with useful information such as how to address the President in a letter, or a U. S. Senator, etc, and phone numbers of legislators. The pamphlet will help residents find their Congressional District, New York State Senatorial District, State Assembly District and County Legislative District.

League Of Women Voters In Favor of CFE
Public Meeting Set for Jan. 27, 2003

   The League Of Women Voters of Buffalo/Niagara will sponsor a meeting on "An Update on CFE Vs. State of New York" from 7-9 p.m., Monday, January 27, 2003 in the McKinley High School Auditorium, 1500 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo (across from Historical Society off Scajaquada Expressway). The speaker will be from the Campaign For Fiscal Equity Jessica Garcia, director of Outreach and Youth Program. Co-sponsors are AAUW Buffalo, Erie County Association of School Boards, Department of History + Secondary Social Studies Education at Buffalo State. Parking is available, and there is no admission.
The following background has been presented by the League Of Women Voters of Buffalo/Niagara
   A court case is pending between the Campaign for Fiscal Equity and the State of New York. CFE initiated a lawsuit against the State of New York, because of the inequality of amounts of money spent on school children in different parts of the state. After many months of work by CFE, State Supreme Court Justice Leland DeGrassse ordered the state to change its state aid formula to distribute school aid more equitably. The judge ruled that the state has violated both it own constitution and federal law "by failing to provide New York City's 1.1 million public school students the resources needed for an education that prepares them for competitive jobs and helps them to become well-informed voters and jurors."
   The judge ordered Governor Pataki and the Legislature to produce a simpler, more equitable formula by last September 15 (2002). That did not happen. Instead Pataki appealed to the Appellate Division of the supreme Court, which overturned Justice DeGasse's decision. The Appellate Court held the current funding system for public schools constitutional, and that the state is only responsible for providing public school students with an 8th grade level of eduation. Now CFE has appealed the decision to the highest state court, the Court of Appeals.
   The League's speaker from the Campaign For Fiscal Equity will review the situation, and discuss how this case will affect schools in communities across the state. CFE is working closely with the Alliance for Quality Education, a statewide grassroots organization, to mobilize the public to move the agenda forward outside the courts.
CFE's goal: to provide equal educational opportunities to all public school children in NY.
   For more information or questions, call Lee Tetkowski, 773-3266.

League Of Women Voters Congressional Election News

   The League Of Women Voters of Buffalo/Niagara has published its Election Bulletin 2002. The following is being provided with permission from the League of Women Voters of Buffalo/Niagara.
   One representative will be elected for a two-year term from each of New York's 29 Congressional Districts.
   The League of Women Voters of Buffalo/Niagara asked the following questions of all NYS Congressional Candidates:
Election Reform: Congress is considering an election reform legislation bill, which would create federal standards for voting machines, provisional ballots and statewide registration lists. Explain your support or opposition.
Energy: Do you support enhancing energy conservation by developing alternative energy supply resources? Explain.
Campaign Finance: What campaign finance reforms could you support?

   Running in the 28th Congressional District which includes Grand Island, NY are the following:
Henry F. Wojtaszek, age 39, North Tonawanda, NY
  • Education: Buffalo State College, Bachelor's degree; University of Dayton Law School
  • Occupation: Attorney: North Tonawanda City Attorney.
  • Experience and Qualifications: North Tonawanda City Attorney - 5 years; Small business Owner; J.A.G. Lt. Commander, U.S. Navy - 4 years; US Naval Reserve - 10 years; Private legal practice - 15 years; Member, Erie-Niagara Law Guardian panels; President, Board of Directors Niagara County Legal Aid Society; Born and raised in Western New York, Henry resides with wife, Caroline and one-year-old son, Jack.
  • Election Reform: I fully support efforts to create a sound, uniform standard to our electoral system. Modernizing our election system will clearly make our electoral system less prone to error such as in the 2000 election and will create less questions and disputed balloting.
  • Energy: I believe that we should be looking for safe non-petroleum sources of energy. At the same time we must utilize domestic sources of oil and lessen heavy dependence that this country has on foreign oil. We must be a self-sufficient nation when it comes to our supply of energy.
  • Campaign Finance: I support the full disclosure of any and all campaign contributions. It is very important to the credibility of our electoral process that citizens know who funds their elected officials. Ensuring public availability of this information is in my opinion the best way to keep our elected officials accountable.
    Louise M. Slaughter, age 73, Fairport, NY
  • Education: University of Kentucky, master's degree in public health
  • Occupation: Bacteriologist, Member of Congress, 28 CD (D-NY)
  • Experience and Qualifications: Strong record of constituent service since 1986. Responsible for securing wide range of federal earmarks, grants, programs/services, including funding for Lake Ontario wave surge project; millions for waterfront development; establishment of a High Tech Incubator to help small start-up businesses; and federal aid for local establishments ranging from the arts to education. Played a key role in attracting low cost air carriers to the Rochester market to reduce sky-high airfares. Top priorities include economic development and job creation.
  • Election Reform: Election reform is strongly needed. I voted for legislation that would provide states with money to replace punch card voting systems. It would also improve voter registration, assist voters with disabilities, and allow voters overseas to cast their ballot. I would like to see changes implemented as soon as possible.
  • Energy: Yes, as a member of the Renewable Energy Caucus, I have worked to encourage clean domestic energy sources. I am a cosponsor of several bills that would provide tax incentives for the entire range of renewable energy technologies and support strengthening the clean energy provisions in H. R. 4, a comprehensive energy package.
  • Campaign Finance: I have been a long-time supporter of campaign finance reform. On February 14, I was proud to vote for the Shays-Meehan campaign finance reform bill which bans soft money and restricts issue advocacy advertisements in the final weeks before an election. The President signed the legislation into law.
       Running in the 60th Congressional District which includes Grand Island, NY are the following:
    Alfred T. Coppola, age not listed, Buffalo, NY
  • Education: School 56 and Lafayette High School, Buffalo; Canisius College, business studies
  • Occupation/Current Political Office: Board of Directors, Energy Cooperative of New York State.
  • Experience and Qualifications: Business owner, real estate and restauranteur, 1967-1984; Delaware District Councilmember, Buffalo, 1984-2000; Chair, Legislation and Energy Committees; Member, Civil Service, Economic Development and Finance Committees. New York State Senator, 2000, Director of Senior Services, City of Buffalo, 2001. Board Member: Alleyway Theater; Benedict House, North Buffalo Kiwanis, Knights of Columbus (Council 184).
  • Sprawl: Yes, but only specific measures, not overall legislation undercutting or conflicting with local planning. For example: Incentives to preserve/expand greenspace, public access, greenways, etc. Technical assistance for local masterplanning, with regional cooperation incentives. State support for infrastructure emphasizing public and mass transit. Better farmland preseration targeting.
  • Education Funding: Reforms I would support include: Targeting poorer districts for school redevelopment, new construction and classroom aid, establishing an "acceptable minimum" per student state-wide. Institution of incentives for "cross-district" and "cross municipal borders" schools. For areas like Buffalo, State aid directly to schools, without City passthrough.
  • Redistricting: Redistricting reforms: Broader application of Voting Rights Act requirements. Public hearings prior to plan development. Court Master as technical advisor for City and State reapportioning bodies. Require plan placed on ballot within one year of census data release; if plan fails, Master and citizen's panel redraw lines.
    Byron W. Brown, 43, Buffalo, NY
  • Education: Dual Bachelor of Arts, Political Science and Journalism, Buffalo State College; Completed certificate program for senior executives in state and local government at Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  • Occupation/Current Political Office: New York State Senator, 57th District.
  • Experience and Qualifications: Held senior staff positions with the Buffalo Counci President, Erie County Legislature Chairman, and Assembly Deputy Speaker. Director of EEO, Erie County; Buffalo City Councilmember, 1995-2000.
  • Sprawl: Yes. New York State should partner with localities to promote regionalism, encourage "inflow" to urban areas by rehabilitating existing facilites, promote utilization of existing infrastructure, encourage use of mixed use and cluster development, and preserve farmland to combat sprawl. Sprawl expands the need for infrastructure and erodes existing tax base.
  • Education Funding: The State Legislature should abide by Supreme Court Justice Leland DeGrasse's order to determine the actual cost of providing a "sound basic education" and devise an equitable, adequate and flexible state aid formula. An expert panel should be appointed to help revise and implement a simplified state formula.

  • Redistricting: The current redistricting process, which allows the majority parties to draw their own lines, is perhaps the mostsignificant factor in returning incumbents to office and maintaining the majority's control. We should create a non-partisan board, composed of non-public officials, to draw Congressional, Senate and Assembly lines.

    League Of Women Voters Election News
       The League Of Women Voters of Buffalo/Niagara has published its Election Bulletin 2001 which includes State and County Propositions, a synopsis on Family Court Judge, County Comptroller, Erie County Legislator, Key Party Abbreviations and much more.
       Under State and County Proposals the League has outlined as follows:
    Ballot Proposal Number One:
    An Act proposing amendments to the Constitution in Relation to gender references
    Abstract of Proposal One
    Currently the State Constitution is written so that provisions applicable to all persons use pronouns and other terms only in the masculine form. The proposed amendment would require all such references to be gender neutral. For example,"he" would be changed to "he or she," "his" would be changed to "his or hers," "firemen" would be changed to "firefighters" etc.
    Form of Submission
    Shall the proposed Amendments making the Constitution gender neutral, by revising references to the masculine form to include either an additional feminine reference or to replace the masculine with a gender neutral form be approved?
    Justification: There will be no cost involved in making changes in the constitution because it is currently reprinted on an annual basis. Once this proposed amendment was passed in the 2001 legislative session, the Department of State made the changes in the constitution as part of its obligation to publish all general resolutions. If voters approve the amendment, copies with the new language will be printed in January 2002.
    PRO: What supporters of the proposal say
    Supporters believe this change in the constitution is long overdue and welcome this proposal that would create gender equality in the New York State constitution. Discrimination in our laws is wrong and supporters believe it is also wrong to discriminate in the language used in the state constitution. Supporters point out that when the constitution was written women could not vote, hold elective office, or sit on juries. Supporters believe constitutional language should reflect today's reality, not that of 1777 when the constitution was written. Supporters also point out that the constitution has been amended many times and that these changes are easy to make requiring very limited resources in time and people to make the constitution gender neutral.
    CON: What opponents of the proposal say
    Those opposing the proposal feel that this change is frivolous and that it would be a waste of tax payers dollars to reprint the constitution. Opponents believe that an historical document should not be changed and that this change would be only symbolic and would not enhance anyone's liberty or rights. Opponents argue that nothing in the constitution prohibits women from voting, holding elective office or sitting on juries. Opponents point out that there are more important priorities that government should be addressing such as on-time state budgets or changing DWI laws.
    Reprinted with permission from 2001 Facts for Voters published by the League of Women Voters of New York State Education Foundation.
       Single copies of the election Bulletin 2001 are available at your library branch. Quantities may be obtained by calling the LWVB/N office, 884-3550. For more LWV information visit the

    PowerPoint Presentation
    Offered By League of Women Voters

       The League of Women Voters launched its Education Campaign on the costs of sprawl in early June 2000. Since then, the League has reached many hundreds of residents in Erie and Niagara Counties with its PowerPoint presentation on the economic, environmental, and social costs of urban sprawl, remedies being used in other urban metropolitan regions around the country, and options available to this region to reverse the trend. This presentation is available on-line at the LWV Site: . If you are interested in learning more about the campaign or want to become an active campaign member, please contact Denise Herkey, Campaign Coordinator, or Katherine Tarbell, Chair, by phone at 716-883-2340 or

    Annual Meeting of the League of Women Voters of Buffalo/Niagara

       The business meeting and luncheon Saturday, June 9, 2001, at the Holiday Inn Grand Island Resort Conference Center will feature special guest Nancy Neuman, Former President of the LWVUS. She is an author, columnist, lecturer and distinguished visiting professor. Nancy will have her books available for purchase, and sales will benefit the League. The cost is $15. Send reservations and checks payable to LWVBN:
       Send to: R. Murphy, 1082 Carter Drive, Grand Island, NY 14072 by June 1, 2001.

    Local Women In Pan-Am Centennial Parade

       Local residents Lee Tetkowski (left) and her granddaughter, Kristina Tetkowski, took part in the Pam-Am Centennial Kick-Off Parade May 6, 2001, in Buffalo. Both are members of the League of Women Voters and marched as Suffragists with a large group of others. Click photo for larger view.

    Islanders(left) and League members Dorothy Westhafer, Kristina Tetkowski, Nancy McGlen and Lee Tetkowski are shown in the marching line in the May 6, 2001, Pan-Am Centennial Parade. Click photo for larger view.

    Isle resident Lee Tetkowski introduced Becky Cain, Immediate Past President of the League of Women Voters of the United States, on Sunday, May 20, 2001, at the Women's Pan-Am Leadership Conference at the Women's Pavilion at the Adam's Mark Hotel. Ms. Cain was a keynote speaker.

    The Grand Island League of Women Voters Unit Chair Elsa Bondar is shown with Becky Cain.

    If you are a member of this organization, we need your help. GIECOM.Net has partnered with the Connections program to help Grand Island as a community "Get it Together." Please visit our website G-I-Together.ORG and fill out our SURVEY. Every group on Grand Island will have its own FREE web page showing: meeting times and location, contact persons, your Mission Statement and a listing of events. We will also be linking your news events that appear in the local media and on IsledeGrande.Com, Grand Island's E-News Source, to your page, maintaining an archived journal of pictures and news. This is the perfect opportunity for your group to connect with potential new members and the community.

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