East Amherst resident chosen to succeed Ranzenhofer as Legislator
Raymond W. Walter of East Amherst has been chosen to succeed Michael Ranzenhofer as Erie County Legislator for the 4th District. Ranzenhofer will be leaving to take on his new role as state senator representing the 61st District.
Walter, an attorney at Magavern, Magavern and Grimm LLP, was chosen for the role by the Republican Committee. The Legislature will make the official appointment Thursday, Jan. 8.
"I'm looking forward to working with some of the great new leadership that we have in the party," said Walter, mentioning new congressman Christopher Lee, County Executive Chris Collins and others.
Walter is a Republican committeeman in the Town of Amherst. He said his goals as legislator will include creating jobs and expanding opportunities for residents while ensuring a positive atmosphere for businesses.
"At this time when we have a declining economy and New York State is putting a higher and higher burden on the economy, I want to make sure we can hold the line on taxes," he said.
Another priority is the infrastructure of roads and bridges in his district. He said he wants to make sure that the repair of Tonawanda Creek Road is completed.
Walter will be a member of the minority party when he takes office. He said he plans to find common ground with other legislators but to speak up if he feels actions are not in the best interest of the public.
"It will be important to work with like-minded Democrats who represent other suburban and rural districts who need to make sure these infrastructure projects move forward," he said.
The 4th District includes the towns of Clarence and Newstead and portions of Amherst and Cheektowaga.
"I'm in touch with the issues facing Clarence and know the people and the businesses in the town," he said.
He worked at an auto dealership in Clarence and said he plans to keep the district office within the town.
Before graduating magna cum laude from the University at Buffalo Law School in 2007, Walter worked in the automobile industry for almost 10 years as a sales and business manager.
He has also served on the Erie County Revision Commission as a research assistant and has been a member of Collins' transition team. He is on the board of the Amherst Senior Citizen Foundation and has been sitting on the 21st Century Commission, which is reviewing the form and function of the Legislature, including the number of legislators and length of terms.
"I've learned a lot about county government on the numerous boards I've sat on," he said. "I have some experience with the budget and finance department and I have some legal experience in municipal law and finance."
Walter said he has worked closely with Ranzenhofer and has received advice from him about the critical issues facing the area.
Walter has two sons — a 7-year-old and a 10-month-old. He said he appreciates the encouragement of his family, including his wife, Jennifer.
"I couldn't do it without their support," he said.