CHEEKTOWAGA – Ousted Cheektowaga Councilmember James Rogowski is showing that you can knock him down, but don’t count him out of the fight. As his lawyers prepare an appeal to a Supreme Court’s ruling that he vacated his office with a recent guilty plea, Mr. Rogowski is running to be elected back to his vacated seat.
He and about 30 people are hitting the streets of Cheektowaga Tuesday night to collect signatures to get his name on the People’s Choice line – a party he formed.
“The people chose for me to be in office for the four elections that I ran in and I was the number one vote getter the last three times,” said Mr. Rogowski. “Let people have a choice, let them decide if I belong in office, or I do not belong in office.”
He tells Cheektowaga Chronicle that he needs 1,106 signatures by October 2nd to get on the ballot in November and he already hit 500 signatures.
“I’m running for what I’ve done for this town and how hard I worked to make this town better through economic development, how I’ve tried to reduce taxes,” he said.
The voting public is asking Mr. Rogowski about his criminal court case in Erie County Court. He pleaded guilty to Attempted Criminal Contempt.
“There is no grounds for domestic violence. I was in a truck that was next to my wife and that is what I pleaded guilty to because I was within 100 feet of her,” he’s telling voters. “Also, what the media doesn’t tell you, is that part of that plea entitles me to see my children without a court liaison. I love my kids and I miss my girls.”
State Supreme Court Justice Mark Montour last week ruled that Mr. Rogowski vacated his seat when he pleaded guilty to Attempted Criminal Contempt on September 5th.
“The DA said there wasn’t enough evidence to knock me out office, but they did, and I don’t get it. They went on things that weren’t true. Reckless driving was never proven to be true even on the videotapes they watched. The only thing they proved was that I was next to my wife at an intersection,” he added.
His attorneys are filing an appeal to reverse the justice’s decision. Meantime, an election will be held on November 6th.
Maryvale School Board member Brian Pilarski was chosen by the Erie County Democratic Committee to fill the democratic line in the election.
Mr. Pilarski says, “I can appreciate his will to not wanting to give up. I have nothing against Rogowski and am praying for him during this tough time in his life. If he gets the signatures needed, follows election law and doesn’t do anything illegal to get on the ballot then I wish him the best of luck.”
Supervisor Diane Benczkowski also wished him the best of luck when we asked what her reaction was to Mr. Rogowski’s running.
Campaign Financial Reports from July show that Mr. Rogowski has $6,300 in his campaign war chest.
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