As the Seneca Nation of Indians prepares to welcome President-elect Barry Snyder to a fifth term in office, government officials across Western New York are sounding off on their hopes for future relations with the Nation. YNN's Meg Rossman has more on Snyder, and why his election could affect more than just the Seneca Nation.
BUFFALO, N.Y. — When Barry Snyder was elected president of the Seneca Nation last week, he not only inherited a nation that spans two counties but one that's also at a crossroads with New York State.
"I look forward to working with President Snyder, his leadership team at the conclusion of President Porter's term," Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards said.
A term that included plans to develop a $50 million outlet mall on the reservation in Silver Creek, a collaborative effort between the Senecas and the Chautauqua County Executive. One that, despite failed efforts to contact President-elect Snyder, Edwards hopes to continue.
"I'm hopeful that President Snyder will recognize the partnerships that have been developed over the years will enable us to keep moving in good partnership," he said.
A task that could be difficult in the City of Niagara Falls, where officials have maintained a rocky relationship with the previous administration as they await $60 million in casino revenue.
"I think it's very difficult with President-elect Snyder only having been elected in the last few days to start asking him to make policy pronouncements on where he would go in terms of the casino dispute," Mayor Paul Dyster said.
The city's relationship with the Seneca Nation took a turn for the worse in September after Dyster threatened to withhold fire protection to the Seneca Niagara Casino due to the on-going dispute between the Senecas and the state. Last week, Dyster presented his 2013 "disaster budget" one that he attributes to the lack of casino funding. Though he said he's reached out to Snyder hoping the tides will change.
"It was unfortunate the turn relations had taken recently, that I thought there were a lot of common interests that could be pursued," he said.
Edwards said he hopes to meet with Snyder within the next few weeks.
Snyder tells YNN he doesn't feel comfortable commenting on the matter until he's sworn in Tuesday.