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Chautauqua County's Hillary Clinton backers officially launch campaign

WBFO file photo

With the New York Primary now less than three weeks away, presidential hopefuls are beginning to set their sights on the Empire State. Hillary Clinton is scheduled to appear in Syracuse on Friday. In the meantime, an organized campaign on her behalf officially got underway in Chautauqua County Thursday.

The Chautauqua County Democrats for Hillary officially launched their campaign with a rally in Dunkirk. Among the elected officials who are throwing their support behind the former First Lady and U.S. Senator from New York is Dunkirk mayor Willie Rosas, who is New York's first-ever elected Hispanic mayor.
The Hispanic population, party leaders say, is becoming increasingly important in Chautauqua County. 
"The City of Dunkirk, as an example, is pretty much 40 to 50 percent Hispanic," said Norman Green, chairman of the Chautauqua County Democratic Committee. "Our Chautauqua County Democratic vote is 20 percent Hispanic. They're a big block to us."
Green admitted that younger Democrats in the county appear more likely to favor Bernie Sanders, a trend that is consistent with other parts of the country. Older voters, as well as a wide majority of elected officials, are favoring Clinton. 
WBFO asked Green if there was a specific accomplishment by Clinton as a U.S. Senator that should appeal to voters.
"She was more of a brick-and-mortar Senator, as far as we were concerned," he said. "There's no big project that's going to have Hillary Clinton on the project. But she was a responsive and receptive Senator for all of Chautauqua County."
Green did not anticipate Clinton would make a campaign stop in Chautauqua County, suggesting Buffalo would be the destination where she would state her case for all of Western New York. But he told WBFO that Clinton's connections to Chautauqua County date before her roles as Senator and even the nation's First Lady.
"She was coming to Chautauqua County way before anybody in New York State really knew who she was," Green said. "She was the First Lady of Arkansas when she and Bill would come to Chautauqua Institution. They would spend time here and they would invite local officials over to have conversations.
"We've known Hillary a long time. She spent a lot of time here. She knows us personally."

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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