For Dan Heitzenrater, there is no place like home.
“To me, (the Chautauqua region) is a special place. You get to really know people throughout these close-knit communities,” he said. “This area is on an upswing and I am excited to be a part of it,” he said.
Serving as Executive Assistant in the Office of the Chautauqua County Executive, Heitzenrater works closely with County Executive Vince Horrigan.
“Anything (Horrigan) comes up with, I am responsible for the research and implementation of,” Heitzenrater said. “We try to be very proactive in our approaches and keep things moving.”
A 2009 Cassadaga Valley Central School graduate, Heitzenrater spent two years at Jamestown Community College before transferring to the State University of New York College at Fredonia where he earned his Bachelor’s of Arts degree in history with a minor in political science.
“I was always very interested in government and politics but when I was at Fredonia I became more interested in the public administration side of things,” he said.
Following the congressional redistricting in 2013, Heitzenrater interned in Congressman Tom Reed’s Jamestown office where he had the opportunity to meet and get to know many people around Chautauqua County. In March 2014, he began his current position with the Office of the County Executive.
One of Heitzenrater’s memorable moments from his career so far, occurred about a year ago when he was organizing a summit meeting with members of the community and Horrigan allowed him to make part of the presentation that he had helped put together.
“For me, that was a big moment. The fact that the County Executive had faith in me to make that presentation was great,” Heitzenrater said.
Heitzenrater also offered some advice to students who may be interested in a career in politics, local or national, and that is to get involved on campus.
“There are so many opportunities available for students, they just have to look for them,” he said. “As a student at JCC, the faculty and staff were always accessible and very helpful.”
This feature is part of a series focusing on residents who have received scholarships from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation and have moved back to or remained in, the area to live and work. If you, or someone you know, received a scholarship from the Community Foundation and would like to be featured, contact Sarah Shelters at 661-3390 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Community Foundation is now accepting scholarship applications for the 2016-2017 school year. To qualify, students must have graduated from a Chautauqua County high school. Scholarships are offered to undergraduate and graduate students studying a variety of subjects and vocations at two-year or four-year colleges or universities.