Republicans choose Church to replace Robert Nielsen

Gwen Chamberlain
Leslie Church

The Milo Republican Committee has tapped Leslie Church to fill the spot on the Republican line for one of four District III seats on the Yates County Legislature that was left vacant suddenly last Friday when Legislator Robert Nielsen died.

Church, who is also running for a seat on the Milo Town Board, is a relative newcomer to politics.

She has served on the Milo Town Planning Board for six years, three as chair.

She was appointed to the fill the vacancy on Sunday, Oct. 25.

Nielsen had won the spot on the ballot in the September primary. Other Republicans who won spots on the ballot in September were Patrick Galvin, Mark Morris and Daniel Banach, who is now the lone Republican incumbent on the ballot in District III. Democrat Deb Flood is also seeking reelection to her District III seat.

Finding herself in the midst of a lively campaign with just days to go before the election, Church says while she’s not a seasoned politician, she’s disappointed with the negativism found in some political circles.

“I’m in it because of my willingness to serve — to give a voice in the legislature to the people of Milo. I hope they will see my record of service in Milo,” she says.

Reflecting on taking over the ballot spot previously held by Nielsen, Church said, “It’s an honor for me to be able to attempt to fill the void that will be left by him.”

She adds, “He (Nielsen) was a consumate legislator. He believed in limited but effective government.” That, she says, fits well with her  convictions. “I belive in small business and economic development for the town of Milo and Yates County.”

Church, who works with her husband, Gene, at their company, Westfield Aviation, was born and raised in the Washington D.C. area.

Her father was on the crew of Air Force One for presidents Kennedy, Nixon and Ford. She met and married Gene, a Penn Yan native, in the Washington D.C. area and 11 years ago, they relocated to the Penn Yan area.

She is a mother of four and grandmother of three.