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OCT 29 - NOV 05, 2015

In Retrospect

Jim Szwedo
Citizen of Niagara Falls

OCT 29, 2015

It’s been almost two months since losing the primary, and it’s less than a week from the general election. I’ve had some time to consider what went wrong and what went right with my run for the office of Mayor of the City of Niagara Falls.

What went right was that I got to meet a lot of caring people, still living in, and believing in, Niagara Falls. They, just like me, know that, if Niagara Falls is going to truly change, it has to begin with the citizens who live here. Every street we walked, people expressed their opinions about what was both good and bad with the city. They expressed their dissatisfaction with the pace of change in Niagara Falls, and conveyed to me their puzzlement with the pace of development in Buffalo and just across the Canadian border. They had seen long-neglected business districts and neighborhoods in Buffalo experiencing what can only be described as “rebirth”, while their own business districts and neighborhoods languished. They continue to see commercial development rising above the water of our shared natural wonder in Canada. Every street, every citizen, asking, “Why them, and not us?”

All I could do is listen, form a plan, and let them know that, regardless of the strength of my plan, it would still begin with them. That, no matter how good my proposal (based on their concerns) would be, it needed them, the citizens, to support me. I still believe the proposals we put forward were the best of all candidates, mainly because ours were not dependent on party, but rather on the citizens. This meant working with all political parties for the good of the citizens who live in Niagara Falls, to represent them. My willingness to work with anyone regardless of affiliation to move Niagara Falls forward was, I believe, our greatest strength.

So what went wrong? Two words: THE PARTY. Not the citizens of Niagara Falls who represent it, but rather the two people who still control it, both on a county and on a city level. Within days of announcing my candidacy, I was told they would stop me, because my direction for the City of Niagara Falls was not shared by them. Two people. One not even officially representing the party, and the other, a past leader, no longer in office.

So two people controlling the destiny of the citizens of Niagara Falls. Their only goal is not to help the city move forward, but rather, to extend their power, not only to control the county, but also to control the City of Niagara Falls, which has always been just out of their reach.

So, find a Democrat looking for support, then make him a Republican, and run him in a 2-to-1 Democratic city. Good plan?

...Except for that monkey-wrench of a guy that didn’t care for their games, and only wanted to help the citizens that he met.

I was not naive; I expected their attacks, their challenges. Each one just showing the citizens of Niagara Falls how controlling they truly are. From the county, to the Board of Elections. People began to notice; even some County Legislators cried foul; their own chosen State Assemblyman left the Party because of them.

All about control, not about moving Niagara Falls forward.

So where does that leave us, the citizens?

If you are a union worker, I want you to look at the County Union Workers, protesting “No Contracts” for almost five years, and consider that your future, if you choose to vote for their candidate.

If you are a Republican in Niagara Falls, I want you to consider that your Party is being led by people who no longer represent your Party, but still seek to control it, at any cost.

If you are a Democrat, I need you to get off your ass and vote, or stop complaining about what happens.

And finally, if you are of any other Party, remember that YOUR VOTE COUNTS.

The Primaries on both sides were decided by less than 100 votes. Make your voice heard. Show those who seek to control your future (but choose not to live here) that we, the citizens, have had enough, and that we’re serious about the future of Niagara Falls.

People are saying this could be the worst turnout we’ve seen in years. Let’s prove them wrong. Let’s show the State that the citizens aren’t just complaining about their future, but rather, are ready to act on it, beginning with their willingness to vote.

I know that both me and my entire family will be there casting our votes for a better future in Niagara Falls. I truly hope to see you there.

As always, thank you for listening.







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