Greg Edwards (politician)
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Gregory J. Edwards (born September 1960) is the former county executive of Chautauqua County, New York. A registered Republican, Edwards served as an attorney and dairy farmer prior to his election in 2005. In September 2010, Edwards was named the nominee for Lieutenant Governor of New York on the Republican Party ticket with Carl Paladino for governor.
Edwards was born in Panama, New York, in September 1960 to second-generation dairy farmers. He was 14 at the time when his parents took over his grandfather’s dairy farm. Greg’s mother then became the physical education teacher at Panama High School.
Edwards spent his high-school years working on his family's dairy farm. He graduated from Panama High School in 1978 and then went to Allegheny College in Pennsylvania. He spent four years on the football team (Division III) as a backup linebacker, tackle, and special teams player. He graduated in 1982 with his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.
Upon graduation from college, Edwards took a job on the outskirts of Pittsburgh as a salesman for a steel plant. A year and a half later, he returned home to the family farm in Panama, New York. He went to work full-time on the farm – milking cows and tending the land.
In 1986 he graduated from the University of Toledo College of Law and was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1987. Right out of law school he went to work as an Associate for a law firm – Erickson, Webb, Scolton – in Jamestown, New York. In 1991, he became a partner at the law firm Lodestro, Cass, Vanstrom and Edwards. Edwards has been married to Carrie Wilson since 1990. They have three children and live in Jamestown, NY.
2005 and 2009 campaigns for Chautauqua County Executive
In 2004, the local Republican Party asked Edwards to run for County Executive against a two-term incumbent. He won election to his first term in 2005, defeating Democrat Mark Thomas 52%-42%.
Edwards handily won re-election in 2009, defeating Democrat Chuck Cornell 65%-35%.
Edwards did not seek a third term in 2013. Speculation had centered on Edwards possibly running for governor in 2014, which Edwards, despite a third-party report to the contrary, did not completely rule out at the time. He ultimately did not seek any further elected office after his retirement.
Record as County Executive
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Greg Edwards has been said to run the county government like a business .[who?]
During his first term he:
- Reduced property taxes every year despite reduction in sales taxes, increased demands by New York State, and increases in the cost of delivering services .
- Spearheaded creative economic development initiatives that have produced significant revenue for Chautauqua County .
- Increased the bond rating to A+.
- Increased economic development and improve services for our veterans, and seniors .
- Paid past due bills, invested in savings, and set aside the money necessary to pay long-term obligations .
Selection as candidate for Lieutenant Governor
On May 19, 2010, the Associated Press reported Rick Lazio, the designated Republican Party nominee in the New York gubernatorial election, 2010, had selected Greg Edwards as his running mate in his campaign for Governor of New York State. Edwards was assured of appearing on the Conservative Party ballot in November (due to Andrew Kay, Ralph Lorigo's running mate, declining his nomination), and competed against Tom Ognibene (Carl Paladino's running mate) in the Republican primary.
Under a technicality in the state's electoral fusion laws, since Paladino and Edwards both won their respective primaries, Edwards could not use fusion to count all votes for him on the separate lines as one sum total. Fusion in New York only applies to identical ballots. Thus, it would be theoretically possible for Edwards to have more overall votes for lieutenant governor than Democratic LG candidate Bob Duffy but still lose the election to him. This issue was resolved when the Republican, Conservative and Taxpayers parties were unified by nominating the losing candidates (Lazio and Ognibene) as paper candidates for judicial seats in heavily Democratic areas of the state.
C. Scott Vanderhoef
|Republican and Conservative Nominee for Lieutenant Governor of New York||Succeeded by