EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the 14th in a series of articles highlighting major issues facing each of the 19 Chautauqua County districts and the legislators who will preside over them.
Paula DeJoy prides herself on representing the voice of her district.
"I've made that clear several times," she said. "I represent my people because they voted me to."
Current issues in District 13 include crime, empty storefronts and blighted homes.
Of the district, which covers much of the east side of Jamestown, DeJoy said the crime rate has gone up. Additionally, her family has lived there for more than 100 years.
"In my district, there are numerous properties that need to be demolished," she said, adding that the legislature should work closely with the County Land Bank to deal with vacant properties. "Countywide, that's another key issue we need to work on."
Aside from her district, DeJoy said she strongly believes in Jamestown Community College.
"As an educator, I believe higher education is important," she said. "One of my top priorities is continuing to work closely with JCC - anything the legislature can do to help them provide the top notch education they're known for."
DeJoy is also optimistic about StartUp NY, an initiative implemented by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2013 allowing businesses to operate tax free for 10 years in cooperation with community colleges and SUNY campuses.
"Hopefully, it will encourage some young entrepreneurs to come back to our area and find a way to take advantage of that tax free opportunity," she said. "It's important that we work with JCC, SUNY Fredonia and Jamestown Business College to educate and get our citizens career-ready and into the workforce. Working hand in hand with them is one of my top priorities."
In terms of issues countywide, DeJoy supports the operation of both airports, Jamestown in particular.
She said it plays an important role in economic development and supporting Sam Arcadipane, manager of airports and parks, in his efforts to bring competitively priced flights to the area is beneficial.
As for the Chautauqua County Home, DeJoy supports its privatization.
"It's not a personal issue," she said. "It's a business, and shouldn't be something driven by our feelings. It should be driven by what's best for the people of the community, what's best for all citizens of Chautauqua County."
Additionally, she said the word "sale" doesn't necessarily mean "closure."
"Hopefully, it means 'improvements,'" said the District 13 legislator.
DeJoy also supports the establishment of a water district in the northern part of the county, which has been heavily discussed in recent months.
"All parts of the county need to work together and create joint ventures instead of working independently as municipalities, towns and cities," she said.
For constituents living in District 13, DeJoy said she's always willing to hear their input.
"My phone number is in the phone book. My email address is online," she said. "I highly encourage my constituents to call me with suggestions, as long as they're issues the County Legislature has something to do with. I'm their voice. If they have an opinion or a feeling about a specific issue or topic, I encourage them to keep the lines of communication open."