Council Hopeful, Elder Believes Change is Good
By Frank Parlato
Robert J. Elder has lived in Niagara Falls for 33 of his 34 years.
The one year that he was away, 2000, was when he served in the U.S. Army, where his enlistment was cut short because he was disabled in the line of duty and honorably discharged.
Elder is now a candidate for the Niagara Falls City Council, joining a growingly crowded field vying for three seats. A Democrat, Elder is seeking endorsement on all party lines.
He has worked as a painter and a security guard at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center and in 2010 began doing process serving. Earlier this year, he formed a business with his wife, Brandy Marcyan-Elder, called M and E Legal Documents, a process serving, and paralegal and document production business serving both lawyers and the general public.
Elder and his wife have two children, a girl and a boy, ages 11 and 9.
Much of the candidate’s platform centers on a philosophical approach to politics. He is an advocate for term limits or better yet, convincing people that changing elected officials is good for any electorate.
"New faces mean new changes, that’s my slogan," said Elder." The reason for elections is to make changes; new thoughts, new ideas.”
Pointing to the sad state of the city that possess one of the greatest natural attractions in the world and yet is one of the poorest in the country, he added, "Obviously, if you keep re-electing the same people and expect change, it will never happen."
When asked what his single greatest virtue is, Elder responded “listening to what people are saying.”
"When you do too much talking, you actually don't hear what the other person is trying to say," he said.
More specifically, in the case of a councilman, he added, "If the mayor says 'you do this, I will do this for you.' You don’t listen to him. The residents of Niagara Falls are who I will work for. The only time I am going to say 'yea' is when it is for the benefit of the people. I'm not here to brown nose. I'm here to do a job.
"When I serve an eviction or a divorce, I do my job. I have even served a cousin of mine. My job is to do my job. I am Robert James Elder and I am going to do my job."
Elder said he will be very specific on issues from the Seneca Casino stalemate to welfare reform, to stricter requirements for local workers on local jobs and to a traffic light on Pine Avenue in front of the Como Restaurant.
He was very specific about the importance of getting beyond race and gender politics.
"I don't believe in any race. I am who I am. I am red, white and blue. That’s really who I am, an American. I want you to vote for me [not because of race] because you believe I can do the job and know that I am going to listen to the people."
Elder lives on University Court, near Niagara University. His mother, Darleen Elder, is a retired Niagara Falls police officer.
"I was born and raised here," Elder said. "If I become a councilman, my door will always be open; my cell phone will always be on."
The field of candidates for council this year besides Elder includes incumbents Sam Fruscione, who has always been the highest vote-getter in any election he’s run in: Kristen Grandinetti, known widely as the mayor's go-along vote, and political newcomer Russ "the Karate Kid" Vesci, so nicknamed for his undefeated 57-0 full contact karate record.
So far Charles Walker has not announced whether he will seek re-election. The very popular Renae Kimble announced last week she is considering a run for council. Political observers in this city believe that if Kimble chooses to run, she will be a shoo-in.
Elder in his own words:
"I didn't grow up knowing everything. I started off at the bottom. [I was] born not with a silver spoon but a plastic spoon in my mouth, like a lot of people here in Niagara Falls. I am not ashamed to say that in my past, I did not have lights in my house or that I tried to dodge an eviction. I have been on HEAP before. So I understand where people are coming from.
"If people can work, they should. There is a lot of fraud going on. I think we should put more money in fraud detection. A lot of people on public assistance come in with gold rings on the fingers or drive up in a brand new Escalade. If you can do that, you can work.
“Public assistance is for the people who need help, not for people that don't feel like working.
“A lot of people work under the table and get public assistance, l think everyone who is allowing people to work under the table should be fined.
"The Olive Garden was built by workers outside Niagara Falls. That's why I will not dine there. Why not hire workers who live in Niagara Falls to build Niagara Falls?"
|Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr.||www.niagarafallsreporter.com||