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'Political downsizing': Western New York may be setting trend

BUFFALO, New York: Western New York may be going down a path that most voters have yet to see, or may be unfamiliar with. It's a trend that may become popular across the country. Kevin Gaughan, founder of a movement that calls for "political downsizing", states a theory that "the best(and maybe only) way to cut government is to start with your own representatives." Gaughan is leading the movement that not only removes people from office, but removes the offices themselves. Communities are now beginning to adopt the idea of voting by referendum to reduce the number of seats on town councils.[1]

Four towns in Western New York that considered referenda to reduce the number of members on their town boards voted to do so. In Niagara County voters decided to reduce the county legislature from 19 to 15. According to Gaughan: "This is our chance to send a message. Now we have a stick. The guys on the council are friends of mine. I'm sorry it has to start at this end. But it has to start somewhere."

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  1. USA Today, "'Political downsizing' is latest weapon for voters", October 13, 2009