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FEB 24 - MAR 03, 2015

The 'What If', Speech by Mayoral Candidate Jim Szwedo Niagara Falls - Dare to Become Great Again

By James 'Jim' Szwedo
Candidate for Mayor of Niagara Falls

February 24, 2015

James 'Jim' Szwedo
Candidate for Mayor of Niagara Falls .

My name is Jim Szwedo, and I am running for the position of Mayor of the City of Niagara Falls. If my name does not sound familiar, it's because I am not a politician, nor have I ever held any elected office. I am a businessman and a father of three.

Together, with my wife and family, we have watched the decline of our city over the years. We have watched politician after politician making promise after promise detailing the changes they would make to move our city forward, and they never came full circle with them.

Niagara Falls in the day when small businesses prospered .

Never in my lifetime have I seen a government so out of touch with the needs and wants of the businesses and citizens they serve than in our current administration in Niagara Falls. Never before have I seen less diversity and choices in the candidates running for office than in this election. To put it in simpler terms, they are all past and present politicians with personal egos, agendas, and reasons for continuing to run for public office. Year after year, political party after political party, their election would continue to guarantee a better life for only the "friends and family" policies that they continue to put forward, at the expense of the rest of the businesses and citizens of Niagara Falls. These politicians have contributed to the state that the City of Niagara Falls finds itself in. The election of these same people can only guarantee that the City of Niagara Falls continues in the direction that their past policies have set.

I am very thankful for all the support I have received since I announced my candidacy for the Mayor of the City of Niagara Falls. I am very pleasantly surprised to know that I am not alone in my thoughts; that the city is moving in the wrong direction, and is led by the wrong people. I am also saddened by the fact that these same people who offer me help in turning the city around also wish to remain anonymous, for fear of repercussions caused by supporting what we believe to be a new and better government, run by the people. A government for the benefit of all citizens, not just a chosen few.

Along with all the support, I have also heard the phrases, "Do you even know what they're going to do to you?" and, "Why can't you just go along with it and stay out of their way?" To these people, I say, I don't care what they say and do to me; I care about what they are doing every day to the businesses and citizens of Niagara Falls. If this is going to be another election based on name-calling and accusations, rather than about the issues facing each and every citizen in Niagara Falls, I wish them luck with that.

To all the citizens, I apologize ahead of time if I come across a little rough, and I say things you have never heard in an election before. I remind you once again, I am not a politician. All I am is a citizen like you, with a real passion for building a better future for our citizens in the City of Niagara Falls.

That's enough about me. Today, I would like to play a little game with all of you. It's called, "WHAT IF?" It goes like this:

- What if the administration you elected asked your opinions before making decisions that were going to affect the way you lived and did business in Niagara Falls?

- What if the officials you elected were actually from Niagara Falls, and had "skin in the game", or a reason to move the city forward?

- What if, when you spoke at public meetings, the officials truly listened, and didn't keep looking at their phones and tablets, like they had somewhere better to be?

- What if the City Administrator knew each and every business, and visited them regularly to see what he or she could do to make things better?

- What if the Mayor met with business groups, block clubs, and citizens monthly, not to pitch his "bigger and brighter" ideas, but rather to listen to the wants and needs of his citizens?

- What if successful businesses contributed back to the citizens and the City of Niagara Falls because they had an actual voice in what's happening around them and to them?

- What if, at every Council meeting, all the city department heads were present to address the questions and needs of the citizens?

- What if our children weren't leaving because they saw a brighter future in Niagara Falls? One they could be a part of?

- What if our seniors and citizens could once again feel safe walking in their neighborhoods and visiting local businesses in our city?

- What if your elected officials were more concerned with the needs of the citizens and businesses they served, rather than thinking about how many years they have left to put up with their job to get their lifetime pension and healthcare coverage?

- What if, instead of continually supporting subsidized housing in our city, we instead supported using existing vacant school properties to build a trade school? This would equip our youth and under-employed with the skills necessary to make wages high enough to raise a family, own property, and actually pay their taxes in the City of Niagara Falls.

- What if we actually became the city known as a source of skilled labor and craftsmen, rather than a city known for subsidized housing, high crime rates, and boarded-up buildings?

- What if our citizens and city were not the punchlines of jokes on national television?

I could go on with this forever, but I don't want this to be about me. This should be about you, the citizens and businesses of Niagara Falls. If you want to be heard, we are listening. So send us your "what ifs" at or Your comments about the wants and needs of our businesses and citizens in Niagara Falls will become the basis for moving our city forward. These comments will not just be seen by me, but by all politicians running for office. Your voices can make a difference. They just have to be loud enough.

These are things we should not have to wish for. These "what ifs" are just common sense and good government practices. The citizens and businesses deserve at least this, and should demand this and more from their elected officials. None of these things cost taxpayers a dime. I have not yet laid out my development plan to save our city. I have not yet told you the finish line is in sight. This, I have not done, because I cannot do it without knowing what you, the businesses and citizens of Niagara Falls, truly want.

Think about it: with just these few "what ifs", which cost taxpayers nothing, I believe we have begun to form what could be the greatest administration and best chance for a brighter, more prosperous Niagara Falls. A city run by the people, for the people. Who knew such an old idea might be the best chance for our future?

But what do I know? I'm not a politician.






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