Chris Petrus

Petrus

For Chris Petrus, the 2017 election presents a dream opportunity. 

He has achieved one of his life goals: becoming a parole officer. The outstanding item on his wish list is serving as a Cayuga County legislator. 

Petrus, a Republican, is a candidate for the District 4 seat representing the town of Brutus. His opponent is Grant Kyle, who was appointed legislator after Mark Farrell resigned in 2016. Petrus is also running on the Conservative Party ballot line, while Kyle has secured the Democratic, Working Families and Independence lines.

This is the third time Petrus has been a candidate for Cayuga County legislator. He was on the ballot in 2011 when Farrell mounted a write-in campaign to defeat him in the general election. He ran again in 2015, but Farrell won that race, too. 

The Nov. 7 election is for the remaining two years of the four-year term Farrell won in 2015. 

Petrus said his top priorities include clean water. Even though the district is in northern Cayuga County, he believes the entire county is affected by water quality issues. 

"Potable water is more than just drinking and showering," he said. "It's about economic development as well. It lures businesses to the area." 

Consolidation and privatization are also on his agenda. He lauded the Cayuga County Legislature's decision in 2013 to merge the county nursing home with Mercy Health & Rehabilitation Center. 

The vote wasn't popular at the time, he said, but he believes it worked and saved the county money. 

One idea he said the county should consider is privatizing the Cayuga County Office of Mental Health. He's open to exploring other efforts to privatize government agencies. 

"These are issues that we can capitalize on," he said. 

Petrus doesn't think the county is headed in the right direction. Democrats won control of the county Legislature in 2015, which gave them the ability to enact their agenda. 

As a Republican, Petrus doesn't support that agenda. 

"I think we should be about smaller government, not about building a new county office building," he said. For the half the price, we can refurbish the one we have. 

"This is a unique opportunity with the resignation of (Farrell). There is an even district up in odd years. We have a unique time to take back the county Legislature and then we can dictate the course. We can set the agenda. I hope to be part of pointing us in the right direction." 

If he is successful, Petrus would be the latest member of his family to serve in county government. His late mother, Ann, was a county legislator. Before that, she was the first woman ever elected to serve as Brutus town supervisor. 

After seeing his mother as a legislator and a supervisor, Chris Petrus said he will make constituent service a top priority. 

He's also driven by a desire to assist his community. Petrus recalled his first job working out of college was at Head Start. He also worked as a case manager before he became a parole officer. 

"Why vote for me? Because I'm here for you," he said. "My door is always open, my phone is always on and I'm hoping to help people." 

Online producer Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or robert.harding@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.

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