Daily News Online

February 27, 2016

Democrat Diana Kastenbaum, a Batavia businesswoman, has announced her candidacy for New York’s 27th Congressional District, a seat currently held by Chris Collins, a Republican from Clarence, Erie County.

The 27th District includes all of Livingston County. Its seat in the House of Representatives will be up for election in November.

Kastenbaum is the CEO of Pinnacle Manufacturing Company Inc. in Batavia, a company started by her father in 1972.

“As a small business owner from Batavia, I am well aware of the realities that face middle class families. Using my years of experience as a businesswoman, I will bring new ideas and solutions to the problems we face in Western New York,” Kastenbaum said in a statement. “We need a member of Congress who will fight for Western New York on the issues that matter most; good paying jobs, ending income inequality, making college more affordable, and providing access to affordable healthcare. Where Congress has failed us, I will lead.”

Kastenbaum’s family has owned and operated Pinnacle, a zinc and aluminum die casting manufacturing company, since 1972. She is a graduate of The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Kastenbaum, a native of Batavia who graduated from Alexander Central School, is heavily involved in many community organizations in Western New York, including the Landmark Society of Genesee County and the Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council. Kastenbaum was a candidate for Batavia’s City Council in 2013.

Kastenbaum is married to actor and comedian Hiram Kasten. Their daughter, Millicent, is a senior government major at Cornell University. The family had lived in the Los Angeles area for about 25 years, and split time with a residence in Batavia. Kastenbaum and her husband relocated to Batavia in August 2012 and have since made the community their permanent residence.

Collins has been the district’s congressional representative since 2012. He is the former county executive for Erie County. He also was in the private sector for more than 35 years as a businessman and entrepreneur. In Congress, Collins is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee where he serves on three subcommittees: Health Subcommittee, Communications and Technology Subcommittee, and the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.

In 2014, Collins easily won re-election. He received 67.2 percent of the ballots cast, or 144,675 votes, in defeating Democratic challenger Jim O’Donnell, who received 27.4 percent, or 58,411 votes.

The District has a population of 713,175 and is nearly evenly split among men and women, according to U.S. Census Data.

A review of election results for the district going back to 2000 shows that the two races which have included a female candidate were the district’s closest.

Collins was first elected in 2012 when he defeated incumbent Kathy Hochul, by 1.5 percentage points. Collins received 48.9 percent of the ballots cast, of 161,220, to Hochul’s 47.4 percent, or 156,219. Hochul had been elected by voters from New York’s 26th Congressional District. Due to New York’s redistricting, she ran in the newly redrawn 27th District in 2012.

The district’s other close race came in 2004 when Democrat Brian Higgins defeated Republican challenger Nancy Naples by 1.2 percentage points. Higgins received 47.8 percent of the ballots cast, or 143,332 votes, while Naples received 46.6 percent, or 139,558.

New York’s 27th Congressional District includes 105 towns across all of Orleans, Genesee, Wyoming, and Livingston counties and parts of Erie, Monroe, Niagara, and Ontario counties. In 2011, the New York State Legislature re-drew the congressional districts based on updated population information from the 2010 census.

Batavia businesswoman to challenge Collins in 27th District (link)