Paul "PJ" Wendel has announced he will run for the County Legislature's 18th District this fall. He is the endorsed Republican candidate in the race.
Wendel has been a resident of District 18 since 1987 when he moved with his family to the town of Busti, relocating to the village of Lakewood in 1988.
Wendel, a 1988 graduate of Southwestern Central School, received his Bachelor of Science Degree in physical education from SUNY Brockport in 1993. He received one of two master's degrees from the United States Sports Academy in sports studies and exercise science in 2004, and most recently a master's degree, summa cum laude, in educational leadership from Edinboro University in 2011.
Paul “PJ” Wendell
Wendel is currently the boys 6-12 physical education teacher, K-12 department chairperson as well as varsity wrestling coach at Falconer Central School. Prior to Falconer, Wendel taught at Fredonia Central School for one year, and was the varsity assistant wrestling coach for Jamestown high school for seven years.
Wendel began his career in the volunteer fire service in May of 1989 with the Lakewood Volunteer Fire Company. In his 22 years he has served as lieutenant, assistant lieutenant, assistant captain, second assistant fire chief, president and vice president for the fire company. Wendel has been a NYS Department of Health EMT-D since the year 1994.
Wendel lives in Lakewood with his wife Jennifer and his two children Sydney and Bohdan. He is currently serving his second term as trustee for the village of Lakewood. Since being on the board, Wendel has chaired the Public Safety and Parks and Recreation Committees, and served on the Personnel Committee. Currently the deputy mayor of the village, Wendel is dedicated to working for everyone in the village of Lakewood and town of Busti to maintain a low-cost system of government.
"What we need are the most effective and efficient ways to provide the services that we have, while keeping our taxes as low as possible. Cutting dollars doesn't have to mean cutting services."
When asked why he chose to run for the District 18 seat Wendel spoke of the county's residents and taxpayers.
"We need to fight for the residents of Chautauqua County, to provide the most cost-effective form of government with the lowest cost to its taxpayers," he said. "This doesn't always mean cutting services, but cutting costs. It means working effectively and efficiently to provide necessary services. We need to sit down with New York state lawmakers and work for alternatives to the mandates that burden our county. We need to ask the state to start leading by example when it comes to reducing the cost of government.
"We are faced with an $18 million deficit in this upcoming budget year," Wendel continued. "This is no small number. Each and every department needs to cut their costs to the bottom line. I feel the County Legislature needs to put aside its partisan politics and work together. The reduction in the number of legislators is a step in the right direction, but this is just the beginning. The decisions this legislature will have to make in the next few years may not be the most popular decisions, but I feel very confident that they will be the right decisions for the residents and taxpayers of the county."