Race for County Executive Nears Home Stretch

November 1, 2011 Updated Nov 1, 2011 at 11:25 PM EDT

By WKBW Internet

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November 1, 2011 Updated Nov 1, 2011 at 11:25 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - As the race for Erie County Executive hits the home stretch, the candidates turn their focus to the issues and make their case directly to the voters of Erie County.

County Executive Chris Collins attended a 'Meet the Candidate' event on Grand Island put on by Tea NY, where he spoke with supporters about his belief in small government and fiscal responsibility while touting his record over the last four years.

"I hope everyone can remember four years ago; it wasn't that long ago. We were effectively insolvent. We had a hard control board appointed by the state overseeing our finances. We had no cash reserves. We had no rainy day fund. We were deferring our pension costs and kicking that can down the street because we didn't have the money to pay for it," Collins said in an interview after the event.

His opponent, Comptroller Mark Poloncarz attended a candidates event in Alden Tuesday evening, and then stopped by Transit Lanes in Amherst to talk with potential voters and rally support.

"Just talking about the issues that are important to the voters. Job creation and the record of both myself and my opponent. I've found over $30 million in cost saving initiatives. Unfortunately most of them have not been implement. My opponent has raised taxes, cut services, gave raises to his cronies and we have 13,000 less jobs in Erie County than when he was elected," Poloncarz said after shaking hands with many inside the Transit Road bowling alley.

But in a campaign that has seen plenty of mud-slinging and accusations, as voters prepare to head to the polls on November 8, both candidates seem to be focusing on the issues.

"We have an approved 4-year plan with no tax increases, further reducing the county debt by another $100 million. Paying the pension costs today that other counties are deferring. Frankly, other counties are on quicksand, we're on solid footing," said Collins.

"The people of Erie County are my bosses," added Poloncarz.

"I don't think my opponent understands that. He like to dictate...but he doesn't understand that he's a public servant. I do. I'll never forget that my bosses are the hard working people of Erie County."

Both candidates plan to stay very busy as the final days before the election approach.