Robert "Bob" Whitney Jr. is seeking the District 11 seat in the Chautauqua County Legislature.
Although Whitney is seeking re-election to the legislature, he said most people know him for his community involvement. Whitney has coached Jamestown city recreation baseball for 11 years, and is currently the treasurer of the Jamestown Area Midget Football League, a position he has held for eight years. For the past five years he has been a board member of the Jamestown Babe Ruth League where he is a vice president overseeing the 13 -15-year-old division. He also volunteered at the Roseland Park playground community build which is now in his new district and at the Mayville Habitat house.
"Being involved in the community is what makes the community," said Whitney. "A lot of people contribute to this community and it often goes unnoticed. These are the people who make Jamestown a great place to live and raise a family."
As a legislator, Whitney is the Democratic Minority Leader, serving as Assistant Minority Leader prior to being named the leader. He is a member of the Public Safety Committee. Issues he has worked on include IDA reform.
"Chautauqua County has a revenue problem. The current IDA leadership is giving away the farm with little or no job creation in return," he said. "No one is holding these businesses accountable for the lack of projected job creation."
Whitney has proposed to include equal legislative representation on the IDA board. He also wants to require businesses that get public assistance to purchase local supplies and hire local labor on all IDA backed projects.
"The tax breaks and low-interest loans that are distributed through the IDA need to bring more than just minimum wage jobs" said Whitney. "Not only should the construction work be done by local workers, but the supplies should come from local businesses and manufacturers. This is common sense to me."
Whitney is president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 106, which has a membership of more than 200 men and women. As a trustee, he oversees the Health & Welfare Plan, pension plan, annuity (401 K) plan as well as the Apprenticeship Development Committee.
"As a trustee, many hard financial decisions have to be made to keep the plans solvent," Whitney said. "These decisions need to be based on the majority and not what's good for me or my friends."
He attends an annual week of training from the International Foundation, which offers classes for both the private and public sector.
"Rising health care costs, unfunded pensions and employees seeking a decent wage these are issues facing both the private and public employers that the training covers," he said.
Whitney is endorsed by the Democratic, Independence and Working Families parties.
"I am committed to working with in a bipartisan way to help bring life-sustaining jobs to our county," he said. "We need jobs that provide benefits and a decent wage to keep our residents here. That shouldn't be a partisan goal, but something we all shoot for."
Whitney has also been involved in community-based efforts outside the Jamestown area. As a member of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church he has attended four separate week-long mission trips. He has been to New Orleans, Ohio and Virginia twice.
Whitney said, "Going away for a week with your family and friends to volunteer in unfamiliar surroundings is both challenging and rewarding knowing you've made a difference."
Whitney is married and has four children, two boys and two girls. He has lived on the west side of Jamestown his entire life. He graduated from Jamestown High School and Jamestown Community College.