2 candidates compete for open Steuben County legislator seat
Voters in the city of Corning will go to the polls Tuesday to decide who represents them in the Steuben County Legislature.
Democrat Joe Tobia is running against Republican Alison Hunt for an open seat.
Tobia, a lifelong resident of Corning and retired educator, coach and principal for the Corning-Painted Post School District said he is running to give back to the city that he loves.
After losing his son a couple of years ago due to mental health issues, he said that addressing those needs in the county is imperative. Tobia called the mental health system "a mess," with major roadblocks to access the care individuals need.
“After we lost my son, it was, you know, can I get angry, could I point the finger at people? Yeah, I could do that,” expressed Tobia. “Or I can step up and try to do something. And that was one of the reasons I decided to run for the legislature, maybe I can get in there and improve a mental health system that's so very broken.”
Tobia also said he went into this election to focus on local issues around public safety, homelessness, workforce development and tourism to the local area.
He highlighted his time in the school district working on committees, advisory boards and bringing the International Baccalaureate program to the Corning school system.
Tobia’s opponent is Republican Alison Hunt. Hunt is currently the chief of staff for state Senator George Borrello, which is a full-time position.
She is also a Corning City Council member part-time. It should be noted that Hunt is concurrently running for both Steuben County Legislature and the Corning City Council in the general election.
In 2023, Hunt’s position with Borrello’s office paid her more than $80,000 a year according to public records. Her Corning City Council position paid $4,944 per year.
The annual salary for a Steuben County legislator is $15,000.
It is not clear if Hunt will continue to work for Borrello’s office if elected to a third term on the city council or a first term with the county legislature.
Multiple attempts to reach Hunt went unanswered.
According to her official public Facebook page, she stated that she does not believe you need to be retired in order to serve in local office. On the contrary, she believes some local representatives should have full-time jobs.
“Those who are still working will bring a different perspective to these elected positions,” wrote Hunt.
Her top issues for the county seat are supporting first responders, sustainable jobs and community services and outreach.
Both Tobia and Hunt are looking to fill the seat currently held by Steve Maio, who is not seeking reelection.
Early voting polls are open until November 5. The general election is Tuesday, November 7.