Editor's note: Each candidate was alloted 150 words or less to answer each question below. Answers were otherwise used verbatim.

GERALD J. FIORINI (R,C,I)

Age: 78

Education: High school, Rome Free Academy

Professional/political experience: Retired, New York State DDSO; county legislator, 39 years; chairman of the Board of Legislators, 24 years

Family: Married to Fran Fiorini; two children, six grandchildren, and one great-grandchild

What would you say are the biggest issues facing the area you seek to represent and how would you address those?

The biggest issue facing Oneida County is the continued emphasis of job creation and workforce development. With the announcement of Cree locating to the Marcy Nano site, the investment and development at Griffiss Technology Park, and the construction of the hospital in Utica, Oneida County will be facing an influx of jobs not seen since the 1950’s. We must be prepared to train the workforce necessary to fill these jobs, utilizing our centers of higher education. Similar to the Airframe and Powerframe School that I helped develop, we must invest in the science and trades industry.

Under my leadership Oneida County has invested heavily in improving our infrastructure. We continue to look for ways for funding roads and bridges; we invest in our County facilities, and have special patrol officers in our schools to protect our children and teachers.

What makes you the best candidate for the job?

My experience and involvement in the Rome community makes me the best candidate for this job. I currently serve as Chairman of the Board of Legislators, and in that I role have worked closely with local leaders to advance our County. We have held the line on taxes, have successfully negotiated a deal with the Oneida Indian Nation, and continue to invest in our infrastructure. I continue to volunteer my time at Delutis Field and have coached many youth sports teams throughout the County. I believe there is no better time in the history of Oneida County than today. The momentum for the rebirth for the City of Rome and Oneida County has never been stronger. It will be my honor and privilege to continue serving to ensure that the promise of these important projects is fulfilled.

 

LEIGH LOUGHRAN (D,WF)

Age: 43

Education: St. Elizabeth’s School of Radiography (Radiologic Technologist Certification, 2003); SUNY Canton (Bachelor's degree, HealthCare Management, 2017)

Occupation: Personalized Medicine Program director, Rome Memorial Hospital (2019-Current); Women’s health consultant, Myriad Genetics (2018-Current); operations manager, Medical Imaging, Rome Memorial Hospital (2015-Current)

Professional and previous political experience: Rome City School District School Board (2018-Current); vice president, 2019-20; Committees: Finance, Personnel, 2018-19; diagnostic x-ray supervisor, Medical Imaging, Rome Memorial Hospital (2011-2015); Medical Imaging Systems analyst, Rome Memorial Hospital (2011-2016); x-ray technologist, Medical Imaging (2003-2011)

Family information: Two children, ages 16 and 22; two dogs  

What would you say are the biggest issues facing the area you seek to represent and how would you address those?

Working at Rome Memorial Hospital for twenty years has made me acutely aware of the challenges in recruiting qualified healthcare providers to this area as well as retaining young professionals. We need to be able to present a community that not only works hard on economic development, but one that is welcoming, celebrates diversity and is focused on moving forward. It is more than time that a younger generation step up to represent a voice that is excited to serve with a fresh perspective. As a county legislator, one of my main focuses will be working to enact term limits. Serving as an elected official is a public service and should not be made into a career. Career politicians, from either party, tend to only provide us with complacency, mediocrity and stunted representation. It’s time to move on and fix that going forward.

What makes you the best candidate for the job?

In order for the seventh district to truly move forward, we need someone young, engaged, creative, energetic and deeply invested in the future of our district. I am fully committed to this task and dedicated to creating a future that will raise everyone up. I will work to create a social network within neighborhoods to incorporate the notion that when we get to know each other, we will build bridges and flourish together, choosing to focus on the positive in a world that would rather see us tear each other apart. Together, we can make this place a place where everyone speaks positively of and loves to call home.