Tonawanda News — Niagara Falls school board member and local attorney Johnny Destino is getting the backing of a prominent Western New York developer in his bid to unseat incumbent state Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane.
Destino, who ran a close but unsuccessful campaign for Niagara Falls mayor last year, officially announced Tuesday that
he is joining the race in the 62nd Senate District w
hich already features Maziarz and announced Democratic candidate Amy Hope Witryol.
Destino plans to challenge Maziarz — a veteran of state politics who has represented the 62nd Senate district since 1995 — in a Republican primary this September.
“I believe Albany needs to be turned upside down in order for us to begin straightening out our priorities,” Destino said. “First, we have to remove career politicians who have long forgotten whose interests they were elected to serve.”
Destino’s candidacy is being backed by Buffalo developer and 2010 gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, who called Maziarz a “poster child for term limits” in a release issued by the Destino campaign.
“He has been around for a long time and his only accomplishments have been in serving his special interests,” Paladino said of Maziarz.
Paladino said Destino
demonstrated “sincerity and ability” in his unsuc
cessful run against incumbent Mayor Paul Dyster last year. He also suggested the 35-year-old Destino would offer a refreshing change in Albany.
“(Destino) understands the issues in-depth and is willing to be a single voice, if that is what is necessary, to change the status quo in Albany,” Paladino said. “He is a talented lawyer with a young spirit who has not been infected by the Albany establishment.”
Destino, a graduate of Niagara-Wheatfield High School who earned his law degree at the State University at Buffalo, lost to Dyster by fewer than 700 votes in last year’s mayoral election.